Helping Neglected Genderqueers

by Minhaj Masoodi

SRINAGAR: Palzun Help Foundation set up by a group of friends—Sunday organized a one-day medical camp at Sher-i-Kashmir Park for the marginalized transgender community.

Doctors at a free medical camp arranged by an NGO examining members of the third gender in Srinagar on June 20, 2021. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Palzun President Dr Suhail Chaudhary, who was earlier working as a project head for the Mercy Mission Australia, said that Palzun came into being in 2020. “Prior to that, we were just a group of friends pooling our resources to help people.”

Sayir Ahmad, Vice president Palzun Foundation said that the transgender community has one of the most ignored sections of society. “We wanted to send a message across to let them know that they are not alone. They are a part of our society and we care about them.”

Sayir Ahmad, Vice President Palzun. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

He said the community has been reeling under stress due to the impact of pandemic induced lockdowns. “The transgender community is primarily engaged in the matchmaking business, and due to lockdown, their livelihood has been hugely affected.”

He said they gathered some data about transgenders and launched a food drive for the community last month in which they gave away nearly 250 food kits. “During the drive, when we visited their localities, we had not anticipated the severity of problems they are faced with. We were shocked to see their level of suffering.”

“We felt the community is also facing a lot of psychiatric issues in addition to other health problems. It is then that we decided to organize a medical camp for them,” he added.

“That is the reason”, he said, “That we included two psychiatrists among the three doctors that are examining the members of the community.”

Muzaffar, a transgender who travelled all the way from Tangmarg said, the medical attention they received from doctors was very good. “We were also provided with medical kits.”

A group of transgenders, who were resting under the shade of Chinar trees, said since their community is ignored by everybody, even chased away from hospitals, this camp was a good beginning.

A transgender from Qamarwari, who identified herself as Malaika Qinner, said the foundation had helped them earlier also by distributing food kits.

Doctors at a free medical camp arranged by an NGO listening to a member of the third gender in Srinagar on June 20, 2021. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

A doctor examining the members of the community said, “People we evaluated were suffering primarily from psychiatric conditions. The probable reason could be that their members have been pushed to the fringes due to the loss of earning avenues amid three lockdowns.”

“Other than psychiatric issues, they mainly had endocrinology related problems such as thyroid, diabetes and blood pressure,” the doctor added.

“We have noted all their details, we would be doing the follow up on these patients very soon so that proper care reaches them,” he said.

One of the members of the foundation said the event or the organization is not important.

“It is the cause that is important. We have been working in the field for quite some time now. Creating awareness regarding these social issues and mainstreaming people who have been pushed to the wall should be the collective responsibility of the society,” he said.



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