Hyderabad: The one group of people which is always gets excluded from discussion on any subject of national importance is LGBT or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The impact of coronavirus has not left any section of the society unaffected. And so are LGBTs.
There are an estimated 100,000 transgender who live in Telangana. Like the poorest of the poor, the LGBT group has become one of the most affected by the impact of coronavirus. Many of them have no jobs, no regular income, no medical care and no government policy to give them assistance on preferential basis.
“Koun pouchta hai pinjaray may band parindauN ko, madam (who takes care of the caged birds when they do not have a master?),” one of them said.
Anil Kushary, Vice President of Mobbera, an NGO working for the transgender told siasat.com, “India’s coronavirus lockdown has left people at heightened risk of ill health and poverty because they exist on the margins of society, making a living through sex work and begging.”
The lockdown has made it difficult for many of them to survive as they are all locked up at homes and there is no one to take care of them. They can eat only when they earn. There is no earning, therefore, there is eating. Even worse, they claim that they are not provided with any help from the government or the general public.
Vyjayant Vasanta Mogli, a member of the LGBT group, said, “Most of the transgender are sex workers with HIV positive. Access to ART therapy and medicine are essential for them which have been restricted due to lockdown.”
“Their immune system is weak. If by chance, they get in contact with coronavirus then the entire community may easily get affected as we live in slums as clusters. From five to 25 of us live in the same house and the virus might spread like fire,” she added.
“We are also daily wage workers. We earn by way of undertaking menial jobs or by begging. We can buy essentials and food for ourselves only when we are free to move,” Hemanth said.
“We understand the need for lockdown and are abiding to the rule book. But the government should empathize and provide us with at least a few meals,” added Anil.
On informing about provision of 12kg rice by government on producing Adhaar card at the ration shops they said, “ 90 % of our community do not have Adhaar cards as we have no father to get a name from and are not given specific identity as other genders do.”
“What we earn daily is not even sufficient for our daily needs; we have not opened accounts in banks as we had little or no savings,” stated Karusta.
“Jara si qaid say ghutan hone lagi hai sab ko. Hum log tho hamesha se hi qaidi haiN,” she added. By this she meant that the people have always looked down upon them and wanted us to be jailed in our own premises. People never liked seeing them and whenever they are spotted they be would be treated with assaults and abusive language.
“You, I mean people, would know what social and economic boycott are. You may at least feel a bit of sympathy for us,” one of them said with anguish and hunger in his/her eyes.