Nisha Ayub, Among Marie Claire’s ‘Amazing Women’, Opening Transgender Clinic

By Boo Su-Lyn | 16 August 2019

The clinic in Chow Kit will provide transgender hormone services.

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KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — Marie Claire Malaysia has listed transgender rights activist Nisha Ayub, who plans to open a clinic with trans-specific health services, among 25 women in Malaysia who “undeniably owned” 2019.

The women’s magazine said Nisha started trans-led community-based organisation Seed when the previous Barisan Nasional administration abandoned the foundation that she was working with previously, leaving the people that the trans woman was championing without any avenue to turn to.

“With horrendous experiences in her past when she was beaten and badly violated, Nisha has developed a backbone of steel,” Marie Claire wrote in a profile of Nisha for “Marie Claire Amazing Women 2019” to celebrate its 25th anniversary by highlighting 25 “strong, influential women who undeniably owned 2019″.

Nisha currently plans to open a specialised health clinic focused on providing health care services for transgender individuals, according to Marie Claire.

“These warriors are challenging paradigms and leading the shift in innovation and global progress, while shaking up the status quo, especially at positions where men still outnumber women,” said Marie Claire.

“Marie Claire Amazing Women 2019” also featured Dr Teo Soo Hwang, CEO and head of Cancer Research Malaysia’s breast cancer research programme, and cancer survivor and activist Hiba Rahman.

Nisha told CodeBlue that she plans to open the clinic with transgender health services within Seed’s drop-in centre in Chow Kit here, a poor vicinity in the city centre, which requires renovation that Seed is hoping to get sponsorship for.

Besides general health care for minor ailments like the flu, the clinic will also offer transgenders hormone replacement therapy (HRT), either estrogen or testosterone; counselling; as well as free tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Nisha noted that very few doctors in Malaysia, where the transgender community still faces plenty of stigma and discrimination, are willing to providing hormone therapy to trans people.

“Because of that, a lot of trans people are self-medicating when it comes to hormone, and by doing so, it actually causes a lot of harm towards them,” Nisha told CodeBlue.

So Nisha hopes to get doctors to come in to the clinic on certain days to offer hormone therapy to transgender clients, who will also get counselling from psychologists and full-body check-ups, including blood and hormone tests, to ensure that they receive suitable hormone treatments.

Otherwise, a caseworker will accompany transgender clients to clinics or hospitals that provide hormone therapy and be with them throughout the whole process.

“We’re also looking into STDs, HIV because most trans people would not go to hospitals and so on to do their check ups. So we’re hoping by giving these services, they’re more aware of their health.

“By having this one-stop centre where we also have health care services, therefore the community is able to access health care without being discriminated [against]. At the same time, they get information that’s related to trans specific health care.”

Nisha said the main challenge she’s facing now is financing the renovation of the Seed drop-in centre for the transgender clinic, as the organisation already has committed resources from health care providers.

“We have sent a proposal to funders and hope to get their feedback by the end of this month.”

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