Liberty Of Choice: Is It Just Good PR For Medical Tourism?


Transgenders are people who experience a mismatch between their gender identity or gender expression, and their assigned sex, basically, going through a ‘body VS mind’ complex. As easy as it is for me to state the definition, it’s equally difficult for them to find a place in our bigotry society.

The rigidity of customs in our society has suffocated the idea of transgender people, alienating them and humiliating them on a regular basis. Their occurrence is not acknowledged by our conformist society, so respecting them is on an-all together another level. They have to struggle for their acceptance, respect and livelihood. Exploitation, whether physical, mental or verbal, has reached peaks. They are abused for their uniqueness and are awarded with various demeaning titles.

However, as opposed as we are to the acknowledgment of transgenders in our country, we are equally progressive when it comes to providing sex-change operation to foreigners. If this isn’t irony in the most cruel form, I don’t really know what is.


A small but steadily increasing number of transgenders are travelling to socially conservative India for sex-change procedures, which are cheaper than those in their homelands. Some are even choosing India, which has traditionally shunned its own transgender community, over leading sex-change destination Thailand which is regarded as more accepting on this issue.

With everyday issues, a different facet of our society comes into existence, and now we are to witness the hypocrisy of our ‘conservative’ country.

Increasing numbers of foreigners from countries such as the UK, US, and Australia wanting to seek lower costs and people from developing countries wanting better quality and care than they receive at home, make India a winner in the discussed sector. The $3 billion industry is expected to be more than double in size by 2020, as per a report published last year from the Confederation of Indian Industry. Also, the government is actively promoting India’s booming medical tourism industry.

Known as ‘hijras’ in our country, transgenders are treated as outcasts. Eschewed from the society, they end up as destitutes who are then forced to beg or enter prostitution. Lacking a strong economic background, they often lack the resources to go through such extensive and expensive sex reassignment surgery.

Applauding the liberal mindset the government has attained for foreigners, I am equally disappointed with how transgenders are treated in our very own country.

With such progressive steps being taken for the foreigners and the ‘conservative’ people having no qualms, why is our country saving regressive thoughts for its own people? Why are the discussed people not getting what they deserve? Why under the veil of ‘culture’, are we branding transgenders ‘impure and unfit’ to exist?

It seems that the transgenders in our country would need to be globally connected and financially lavish, so as to attain the benefits and respect which is easily bestowed to others.


Yugansha Malhotra

Image Sources:

The Viewspaper