Premiers the film, ‘Mitr Clinic – Pride and Beyond’ at the American Center, New Delhi
On November 30, the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, organized the premier of the documentary ‘Mitr Clinic – Pride and Beyond’, which features India’s first comprehensive health clinic for the transgender community in Hyderabad. The documentary film showcases how USAID, the Government of India, civil society groups, and community leaders are working together to address the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons in the country.
Speaking at the film launch, the U.S. Mission India Chargé d’Affaires Patricia A. Lacina said, “In many countries, including India, LGBTQI+ communities face pervasive discrimination and do not have access to essential services such as education, employment, and safe and stigma-free health care. As the White House report released on November 20 to memorialize the Transgender Day of Remembrance noted, the U.S. government is taking essential steps to address the root causes of anti-transgender violence, discrimination, and denial of economic opportunity. These clinics, which provide community-led comprehensive health care services to the transgender community, are a big step toward building a more inclusive society for the LGBTQI+ persons.”
In January 2021, the USAID-supported ACCELERATE program, implemented by Johns Hopkins University under PEPFAR, launched India’s first comprehensive clinic for the transgender community in Hyderabad. Known, as Mitr (translation: Hindi for “friend”) Clinics, these health facilities serve as a one-stop center providing comprehensive services for the transgender community, including general health services, guidance and medication on hormone therapy and gender affirmation procedures, mental health counseling, HIV/STI counseling, prevention and treatment services, and legal aid and social protection services in a stigma-free environment. All the staff including doctors, counsellors, and outreach workers are from the transgender community. In July 2021, two more health clinics were started in the state of Maharashtra.
The film launch was part of the events commemorating the Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) and the World AIDS Day (December 1). The Additional Secretary and Director General (AS & DG) National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Alok Saxena and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Radhika Chakravarthy participated in the event along with delegates from the U.S. government, National AIDS Control Organization, partner organizations, activists, and community leaders.