Non-binary people face bias from doctors, says study
It is not just the non-binary who face social stigma and discrimination.
NEW DELHI: Non-binary people who don’t identify themselves with any gender face more social stigma, biases and less access to sexual and reproductive health from doctors and other frontline workers as they don’t understand their unique health concerns, according to a latest pulse-check survey conducted by Dasra, a philanthropic organisation, UNICEF and other NGO partners.
However, it is not just the non-binary who face social stigma and discrimination. The survey found that women, especially unmarried women in the age group of 18-29 years, said they find it difficult to access contraception or approach healthcare and frontline workers like ASHAs and Aganwadi workers as they are at times not understanding, biased and don’t keep their information confidential. Single men, however, don’t face this uncomfortable situation.
“Young people were not comfortable identifying themselves as non-binary. They said the biggest barrier was the high cost in finding healthcare providers, gynaecologists etc., who are respectful and can provide care to young people, specifically who don’t identify in the gender binary,” said Aditi Agrawal, Project Lead, Youth Ke Bol (YKB), a pan-India, diverse and representative one million-strong youth-led coalition. Dasra formed the YKB in partnership with UNICEF YuWaah, and other NGOs like Restless Development and Yuvaa.
The survey, compiled into a report Youth Speak, was conducted in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in six states, including Tamil Nadu, on young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and potential solutions to ensure improved access to contraception.
The study said over 95 per cent of the respondents wished that all young people in India could confidently walk up to a store and buy reproductive health products, including contraceptives. Agrawal said non-binary shared that they are asked questions by healthcare workers like ‘why they need contraception’.
“They said there is a lot of discrimination based on their identity. They face stigma as they don’t fit into either male or female. Their appearance and dress etc., have led to a lot of stigmas. They have also shared that they experienced violence because of their gender identity,” Agrawal told this newspaper. “All young people, irrespective of their sexual identity, who were unmarried and accessing contraception, especially women, found themselves facing stigma,” he said.
Unmarried people face discrimination
Unmarried women in the age group of 18-29 years said they find it difficult to access contraception or approach healthcare and frontline workers like ASHAs and Aganwadi workers as they are at times not understanding, biased and don’t keep their information confidential.