Two transsexuals be a part of GH as lab technician, physiotherapist

CHENNAI: When S Neya and S Selvisanthosam got their offer letters from the state government on Wednesday – one as a lab assistant and the other as a physiotherapist– they knew the white coat and the stethoscope they wore were not just a symbol of their profession but a badge for their .
“I’ve never wanted my gender to be my identity,” said Neya, a transsexual. “But today, I’m proud to be identified as a transwoman, who fought to wear a white coat,” said the 33-year-old, a native of Salem. She received her appointment letter for the post of lab assistant from chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

At a time when labs in the state had been scouting to fill up vacancies, Neya, a postgraduate in microbiolgy, was unemployed for four years. “Every time I applied for a job in the private sector, they would call me. But I never got past the interview stage,” said Neya. The hitch: Her gender.

It was an appeal to the CM’s special cell for grievances that finally landed her in Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital as a on contract basis in its blood bank. That’s also where she met Selvisanthosam, who, like her, had been appointed as a after she submitted a petition to the CM’s cell.

While Neya was fortunate to have her siblings by her during her physical transition from man to woman and her battle against the discrimination she faced in the process, Selvisanthosam was all alone in her ordeal. The 33-year-old from Kallakurichi, Tirunelveli, was a promising student in school. “Everybody, including my parents, was proud. They were sure I would be the first in the family to graduate,” said Selvisanthosam. They were, but for one “peculiarity”. “They felt I was too feminine. They wanted me to behave like other boys my age. I couldn’t disclose the struggle I was going through,” she said. This only hardened her will. “I had always wanted to be a doctor or be in an associated profession. I wanted to show the world I could be one irrespective of my gender,” said Selvisanthosam. Her family abandoned her when she underwent a sex reassignment surgery in 2010.

Both Selvisanthosam and Neya know their battle is only half won. “Every day is a battle,” said Neya. There are times when she’s sidelined while drawing blood for tests in the lab. “People sometimes request for another person because they are scared they may get some sexually transmitted disease from me,” said Neya, rolling her eyes. Selvisanthosam too is no stranger to such barbs. “I usually just ignore them and continue pursuing my passion. Unlike other people, we hold an additional responsibility – the dreams of other rest on our shoulders,” she said, cradling her certificate.

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