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Arunachal: AP Queer station discusses Transgender Men’s Health & Their Rights

ITANAGAR-  Despite the LGBTQ+ movement gaining a momentum in the recent days, the issue of transmen has remained invisible. Being a subject of minority within the marginalised, the community of transgender men have been very much neglected and their issues and demands not discussed as much as it ought to have been.

Therefore, in order to lend a non-judgemental listening ear to the community of transgender men of Arunachal Pradesh where they can freely express out and discuss issues related to their Health, Rights and other important matters, AP Queer station in association with Deja Brew conducted a quality session at Deja Brew cafe, Papu Nallah.

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Most official data sources till date continue to collect and provide data in the binary format, excluding transgender and intersex persons. While sex is biologically determined, gender is a social constuct.

A transgender person is someone who does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. The term ‘intersex’ is used when a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male.

A transsexual on the other hand, is a person who physically transitions from male to female or vice versa. But India’s laws club transwomen, transmen, intersex people, genderqueer people and persons ascribing to socio-cultural identities such as kinner, hijra, aravani and jogta under the definition of ‘transgender’, whereas in actuality, there exists a diverse classification of categories.

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AP Queer Station held a close-knit initiative with the transmen revolving around the discussion pertaining to their issues, rights and way forward. A Transsexual man, XYZ shared his personal lived experiences about his transition period in phases with other young transmen.

Trans men and non-binary trans persons from districts like Upper Subansiri, Lower Subansiri, West Siang, West Kameng and Papum Pare as well as key ally members of AP Queerstation, Yuma Narah (She/Her) Psychologist & Jimmy Sonam (He/Him) who are both currently carrying out their Ph.D. research on the community in the dept. of Psychology and Anthropology respectively, also attended the program.

Talks ranged from life before transitions, during the time of undergoing hormonal treatment and surgery and post challenges and adjustments in life. Various information on official websites, professional healthcare contacts, do’s & don’t’s, rights and laws to safeguard oneself were all shared by the primary source.

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Other sensitive issues on family, educational system and other social institutions that the majority of the Trans brothers are still struggling with and finding hard to talk openly about were also covered.

The event was a ‘Trans exclusive’ only to maintain a safe space especially with regard to confidentiality. Sawang Wangchha (He/Him), Queer Activist, was the facilitator of the day. He concluded the talk reminding the young transbrothers to be economically self-reliant for which to prioritize one’s education and end-goal, which concurrently goes on to supplement undergoing surgery, treatment and lifestyle changes costs nonetheless, despite some existing government aids.

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The community conveyed their special heartfelt thanks to Kobyum Zirdo (She/Her), Owner of Deja Brew Café for granting a Queer friendly safe space to the community members at a time where stigma and discrimination on a societal level still exists, making it harder for open conduction of community events. Moreover, she relayed the message of sending her ‘best wishes and love’ for the entire LGBTQ+ community.

Mr. Sawang expressed his appreciation to the primary speaker and all other participants for a fruitful and insightful dyadic learning session. He further promised to conduct more such standard talks with each group of the community to feel more ‘heard’ and ‘understood’ in addition to the simultaneous conduction of community events, meet-ups and sensitization programs.

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