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Here's all you need to know about North India's first Transgender Health Clinic, situated in Lucknow

With free medical & psychological consultations for queer individuals, this initiative is sketching new dimensions of social welfare

On the third floor of an aged building in Lucknow's Hazratganj, a milestone centre for upliftment and inclusivity of the transgender community is gradually picking pace. Starting operations on 4th October 2021, North India's maiden health clinic dedicated to trans and other folks from the LGBTQIA+ spectrum has already seen the first of its happy clients. With free medical and psychological consultations for queer individuals, this initiative is sketching new dimensions of social welfare in the city!

On its way to becoming a happy and homely place for LGBTQIA+ persons

Within four days of its commencement, the centre has grown into a happy and homely place for the members of the neglected and down-trodden social group. At this healthcare facility, all kinds of gender and sexual minorities are welcomed, including MSM (men who have sex with men), people from Hijra/Kinnar circles, non-binary individuals and the like. Notably, the clinic has been set up under the care of YRG care, with John Hopkins University and Elton John AIDS Foundations as their technical and financial partner, respectively.

Tanzeel Ahmad, the clinic manager, who is responsible for dealing with issues related to social entitlements informs, " In the initial days itself, we have managed to get a significant number of footfalls. Recently, we helped a trans individual to get their COVID vaccine dose and their happiness and satisfaction was our biggest reward." Ahmad's scope of work extends to ensuring aid for the people, desirous of availing benefits from the social welfare schemes.

A friend cum counsellor to help queer folks fix their problems

Akshita Patnayak, Peer Counsellor cum Navigator

When a person visits the centre, he/she first meets the receptionist, who maintains a primary record of the beneficiary. Thereafter, one is received by the peer counsellor cum navigator, Akshita Patnayak. Speaking about her role, a dynamic and effervescent Patnayak says," Acting as a friend, I help the visitors to identify their problems. Members of the queer fraternity are so trapped within the social restraints that they find it difficult to spot their issues. After an initial screening, I recommend them to the doctor or the psychologist based on their needs. If it is related to social aid, Tanzeel takes care of it."

She tells that this centre has turned into a reality through committed efforts of over 4 months. They have tried to incorporate all suggestions from the trans and queer people through mobilisation and sensitisation. Now, the centre also plans to conduct weekly activities, aiming for enhanced awareness and outreach. This program will provide a platform for LGBTQIA+ folks, to come out and share their problems and build this site as a safe space for them.

Striving to be a one-stop centre for the often ignored community

Beneficiaries interacting with Dr. Amit Karnik

The centre attempts to deliver comprehensive health benefits through the available resources and other linkages. At this clinic, Dr. Amit Karnik is available four days a week from 4 PM to 8 PM. A general surgeon and an alumnus of King George Medical University, Karnik says, "I have practised for nearly 6 to 8 years and I did not encounter a single trans person. This motivated me to work for them. From basic health check-ups to complete medical aid through linkages, the centre will strive to become a one-stop centre for the often overlooked community."

A host of medical services, including free diagnostic tests for HIV, STDs and NCBs (non-communicable diseases) is available here. Additionally, the centre will also collaborate with other medical facilities to aid various processes, that are a part of gender transition.

Psychologist to follow a multifaceted approach for dealing with issues

One of the most important roles here is being played by Preeti Joshi, the chief psychologist. Available from 4 PM to 8 PM on all days a week except Thursday, Joshi makes sure that all her clients go home contented and hopeful. She says, " People think that LGBTQ people have problems just related to this part of their lives but fail to recognise that their issues can be similar to ours as well. Here, we aim to address all their problems including dealing with unique life stresses, career counselling and relationship counselling."

She further states that she deals with different problems like invisibility, discrimination, homophobia and others. Besides, the rampant issues of depression and anxiety will also be dealt at the clinic. Ensuring the complete well-being of visitors, the centre tries to deliver benefits on all fronts.

Knock Knock

Despite 75 years of independence, members of the trans community in India are faced with umpteen hardships in navigating basic life amenities, like healthcare services. In such a scenario, an initiative like this is as much a saviour, as it is a poignant ray of hope for many.

Location: 3rd floor, Azmi Villa, Jopling Road; near Little Millenium School, Gokhle Marg, Lucknow.

Operational Timings: 12 Noon-8 PM

Contact: 7376196225, 9695643737, 6388675207

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