Johns Hopkins University-backed Project ACCELERATE’s platform presents Mitr Talks with Sushant Divgikar

~Video aims to educate people about Mitr Clinics – India’s first comprehensive transgender clinics~, an integrated online platform funded by USAID and PEPFAR and implemented through Project ACCELERATE, today launched a video featuring Miss Trans India 2020 – Shaine Soni, Trans Health & Rights Activist – Amruta Soni, and Trans Men Activist & Public Health Specialist – Dr. Anmol Singh.

The video features a discussion between RANI KoHENur, Sushant Divgikar, and the guests from the transgender community delving into their journeys and the challenges faced by them. The participants talked highly of Mitr Clinics, an initiative by Mitr Clinics are the first comprehensive transgender clinics in the country that are run by transgender community members for transgender people. The clinics offer a one-stop solution to transgender people with in-clinic services such as HIV/STI counselling & screening, peer-based psychosocial support, gender affirmation & legal/ social protection support along with additional referrals and linkages-based services, including ARVs, Mental Health Support, Gender Dysphoria screening & counselling among others. The clinics have trained counsellors and medical officers to walk people through the transitioning process and offer a warm and caring environment for them to feel a sense of belonging and pride. Currently, Mitr Clinics are operational in the cities of Thane, Pune, and Hyderabad.

In the video, Sushant Divgikar says, “Healthcare is for everyone. Mitr Clinics being the torch bearers are helping the youth by creating safe spaces. Mitr Clinics have trained medical counsellors who guide the youth without judging them. The clinics have counsellors and healthcare professionals who counsel individuals about the right set of solutions.”

The video features conversations on challenges of transitioning, living with HIV, need for attention towards sexual and reproductive health, and living through taboos and discrimination by the society. The guests are seen sharing ups and downs from their journeys and talking about ways to face the hurdles. Amruta Soni highlighted the need for a single window solution, like Mitr Clinics, that help the community get educated, counselled, and get access to basic services. Talking about the need to build a strong community, Dr. Anmol Singh said, “It is the community that helps build a better life with sound mental health at the core. We need to work together and collaborate to guide the youth standing in silos and facing difficulties.”

In the video, Shaine Soni detailed her challenges of transitioning and said, “I want people to understand that each body is different. We are individuals. We should not compare each other, and our transition to others’ transitions. Your transition is your transition. Please take a deep breath and go slow in the transition process. It is not an overnight process, it’s a long journey. We need to enjoy that journey and learn a lot from it. The Mitr Clinics provide all solutions under one roof and help people tackle stress and a feeling of vulnerability during the transition process, which is key.”

Speaking about the launch of the video, Simran Bharucha, Director – Transgender Health, Project ACCELERATE, said, “The goal of the Mitr Clinics are to help people from the transgender community, make them feel loved and proud of themselves. We are delighted to offer the services of these clinics to people and support the community in accessing quality healthcare for their wellbeing.”

With Mitr Talks, Safe Zindagi, as India’s first comprehensive online sexual health platform, has taken a step forward to create conversations about the transgender community and to address their needs with a range of solutions through the Mitr Clinics, along with available counselling and HIV self-testing services that can be accessed through the online platform.

The video can be viewed here: Mitr Talks with Sushant Divgikar

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