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Studying physical and mental health among Hijra, Kothi and Transgender population in India

Authors: Shamayeta Bhattacharya*, University of Connecticut, Debarchana Ghosh, University of Connecticut
Topics: Sexuality, Geography and Urban Health, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Hijra, Kothi, Transgender, physical health, mental health
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual Track 5
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Hijra, kothi and transgender (HKT) individuals are a stigmatized community in India. Despite decriminalization of the Section 377 and the amendments of the Transgender Bill, they are often deprived of their basic healthcare rights. This study used the SF-12 survey to assess the general (physical and mental) health of the community. The specific aims are: (1) adapting SF-12 survey in an Indian context to evaluate general health(GH); (2) assessing the influence of SF-12 subdomains on GH; and (3) comparing physical composite (PCS) and mental composite (MCS) scores health by selected social determinants of health. Data (n=110) was collected using a semi-structured survey conducted in an Indian city Kolkata and its surrounding districts. The study makes a significant methodological contribution by adapting SF-12 in Indian context by modifying the wordings and language of the questionnaire and calculating PCS and MCS scores by using weights generated from the mean and the standard deviation of the Indian population data. Ordinal regression was conducted to understand the influence of SF-12 subdomains (e.g. bodily pain, change in health) on GH. One-way Anova was used to compare PCS and MCS scores by age and gender-identities. 100% response rate reflected successful adaptation of the questionnaire. Regression results indicate that physical functioning and energy/fatigue level were statistically significant in explaining the GH. Irrespective of age or gender-identities, HKT individuals have worse mental health than their physical health. Undoubtedly there is an urgent need to improve healthcare condition of the HKT community in India.

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