CHENNAI: Every six months, Siddharth Bharati has to get blood and hormone tests, an abdomen scan, chest X-ray and done to monitor the effects of the hormones he is taking. The 28-year-old man of trans experience, who began taking hormone therapy seven years ago, says the regular lab visits take a toll on his emotional health as well as wallet.
“I have undergone a breast removal surgery, look like a cis man and have beard. But I have not had a hysterectomy so the abdomen scan will show that I have a uterus. Often, the lab staff ask me uncomfortable questions and treat me differently. I was scared to walk into labs,” says Siddharth. “And the tests are also expensive.”
Many transgender people go through similar experiences. That’s why SAATHII , an NGO, in collaboration with CSS Corp, is sponsoring lab tests for transmasculine, transfeminine, and intersex people. The package includes CBC, lipid and hormone profiles, liver and kidney function tests as well as ECG, abdomen scan and chest x-ray for people who need them. The initiative aims to cover at least 100 community members.
“Trans and intersex people who are on or want to take hormone therapy have to get these lab tests done regularly. But many of them cannot afford it so they skip it and often continue with the initial prescription given by the endocrinologist, which can have an adverse impact on their health,” says Fred Rogers, project consultant with SAATHII.