Mumbai’s COVID19 lockdown leaves transgender community at discriminating risk of poverty and hostile because they are on the margins of society.
Aryan Pasha, first Indian transgender man told Afternoon Voice, “Transgender’s source of living is big issue because they don’t fall under main stream community. There is no work from home for them. There is no specific help for them, they cannot go out and seek help just because they are transgender and cops and other society members vent their anger on them, India’s estimated two million trans people would be among those worst hits by the move because many make their living on the streets.”
Adding to Pasha, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi a transgender rights activist said, “Transgender community do not have the social honor of operating within a distant ‘online’ world when their lives are precariously balanced on the thread of social interaction and functions, Hajras in Mumbai are known for begging on signals and standing beside highway for earning daily bread, apart from that they don’t have enough space in their rooms, in 10 by 10 area many adjust their stay, in such circumstances, where there is no source of earning, no bread, no fire in the kitchen burning and not even enough space to breath becomes very difficult.”
Navya Singh, Transgender Model and beauty queen said, “In spite of Supreme Court ruling in 2014 that transgender people had equal rights, but bias against them continues and they are often rejected by their families and denied jobs, education and healthcare. Due to lack of opportunities, many trans women or you can call hijras, survive through begging at busy joints and on trains, performing at social functions such as weddings or selling sex. That work has impacted big time due to long lockdown”.
Hema transgender woman who is always seen on Borivali west signal also HIV positive said, “I barely had any work and was scorching through her limited savings buying the food she needs to stay healthy. She said we went to relief centres but people and cops were not very kind to us. My community is starving, but we have no special attention from anyone. Society don’t even consider us as needy or poor.”
Asha Mamidi, Social worker from Kamathipura said, “Trans people often face discrimination forced many into slums, where isolation is impossible and their risk of contracting the virus increases, last year the government passed a bill to protect transgender Indians from discrimination in education, employment, healthcare and housing but that all is just berried in files.” In my capacity I am helping them with food and basic medical facilities, but I cannot reach across Mumbai, people should take up some responsibilities and reach them, they are needed for blessing your new born and get good omen to you but they are unwanted when such social crises arrive”.
This year, amidst the coronavirus lockdown, the community is facing battles on different front. The coronavirus-induced lockdown has hit the transgender community very hard, with the closure of public spaces and cancellation of wedding events leading to a loss in earnings. Little support from the government meant they have been pushed to the brink. Alms, donations and begging is the only source of their income. The government has completely forgotten about the transgender community who are facing worst condition after the lockdown.