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No Fear No Favour

India’s First Trans College Principal Called ‘Mental’, Denied Covid RT-PCR Test in Kolkata Hospital

Byline by – Balkrishna

India’s first transgender college principal, Manobi Bandopadhyay has alleged that she was denied a covid RT-PCR test in Kolkata’s Bangur Hospital on Saturday after she was called “mental” by the hospital staff. Following a fever, Manobi along with her husband had visited the hospital, while her husband got tested, the staff said conducting her covid test at that moment wouldn’t be possible. The health workers however didn’t state a reason as to why the test wouldn’t be possible.

Although her husband’s results came out to be positive, Manobi, the vice-chairperson of the West Bengal Transgender Development Board, was not taken for the test. Following the humiliation, she decided to meet the hospital superintendent. However, when she walked towards his office, Manobi alleges that she was stopped by a lady security guard and a group of other green apron-clad workers. Taking to Facebook, Manobi shared a video where she narrated the entire incident and how the security guard misbehaved with her, for her identity.

In a dejected voice, Manobi said, “I was asked by the guard why I was there. She alleged that I had been there previously whereas, I have never been to that hospital. She went on asking me about my health details, whereas I wonder whether she even had the right to ask me these questions. I had my face and head covered. I wasn’t violating any covid norms, why was I not allowed for the test? It has been three days, I have not received a response from the superintendent despite sending a grievance letter.”

Later, speaking to reporters, the superintendent clarified that this shouldn’t have happened as the hospital has “a separate ward for trans people seeking covid-19 test.”

However, Manobi questioned such an arrangement and asked, “Why do I have to reveal I am a transwoman. I visited there as a woman and why should you have a separate facility for trans people? What is the need?”

Manobi said it was only with the help of the police she was allowed to visit the super’s office. Following a long wait, she was later informed that he didn’t come to the office that day. “Just because I am a transwoman, I was not tested. I was called mental and I feel so broken,” Manobi said.

However, the hospital authority later clarified that anyone is allowed to meet the superintendent and there was no complaint received in this regard, reports ABP.

“I got to know from social media that such a thing had happened. There are two beds reserved for transgenders. We treat such cases very sensitively,” said Sisir Naskar, MR Bangaur hospital superintendent said

Manobi expressed that the behaviour and mindset of health officials at government hospitals shook her and she left the premises feeling humiliated. The incident has happened at a time when June is observed as the international Pride Month to uphold the rights of people from the LGBTQ+ community.

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