|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
Bidhan Barua, the 21-year-old from Guwahati awaiting a sex change operation, on Monday said he will now have to undergo the surgery at the state-run JJ Hospital instead of Saifee Hospital. He claimed authorities at Saifee Hospital were apparently reluctant to allow the operation to be conducted there.
“If I want I can still be operated at Saifee Hospital since I have the court order that says no hospital can deny me admission. But I don’t want any more hassles. Also, since JJ Hospital is government-owned, they will perform the same procedure for much less,” Barua said.
A spokesperson for Saifee said there was never an appointment for the surgery in the first place and the hospital has nothing to do with the procedure. Therefore, the question of turning him away did not arise, he said.
With a fast-depleting bank account and an expensive surgery costing Rs 3 lakh still to be performed, Barua is hoping his pleas to various NGOs and charity organisations yield some results.
“I have been saving for this surgery since I was 16. I gave painting and English grammar classes to children so I could earn some money. However, my accommodation and lawyer fees have majorly affected my financial status. I came to Mumbai with around Rs 3.5 lakh and now I have only one lakh remaining. I don’t want to put pressure on my fiance for money and I am hoping some big-hearted individual will come forward to help me,” Barua said. He has been living in a hotel in Colaba since his arrival in the city.
While his family in Guwahati, which tries to contact him every day, is strongly against his decision, Barua said Mumbai has welcomed him with open arms in spite of him being shrouded in controversy.
Now with the venue of his surgery finally decided, Barua said he is looking forward to the life-altering operation, which he believes is only a ‘surgical formality’. He started the pre-operation counselling sessions and hormone therapy on Monday and is excited about the transition.
“People come up to me in restaurants and tell me they support me. The police have been exceptionally nice to me. I have even received many proposals from other men. My college professors and friends from Guwahati continue to support me. This has egged me to pursue my decision,” he said. Barua has been working on a documentary movie based on his life and plans to screen it at a film festival soon.
With his final surgery slated for next week, he has been preparing for his life post-operation. His eyes light up as he excitedly talks about his marriage plans and his fiance, who is in the Air Force.
“I will be under rest for a month after the surgery, soon after which we will get married. I have already started shopping for western wear, accessories and make up to use after the operation. It will be like a childhood dream come true,” he said.