Transgender community demands special package amid COVID-19 lockdown

The letter states that most trans persons do not have ration cards, are not provided pension in most states and many transgender persons live in rented accommodations
Representative image
Representative image

More than 2,000 transgender persons wrote to Union ministries of Home, Finance and Social Justice on Tuesday, seeking a special package for the community which has no permanent sources of income and is as vulnerable as daily wagers amid the lockdown. They requested the government to provide an assured subsistence of at least Rs 3,000 per month to every transgender person until the situation returns to normalcy.

'This is necessary considering the fact that most trans persons do not have ration cards, no pension is provided in most states and many transgender persons live in rented accommodations', their letter to the ministries said. They also urged the government to universalise the Public Distribution System to ensure food security to all needy citizens, including transgender persons and requesting to issue an order mandating that no transgender person shall be forced to pay rent or face eviction by their house owners for non-payment of rent during the lockdown.

A majority of transgender persons live in conditions of abject poverty, social exclusion and eke out a livelihood primarily through begging and sex work, both of which are avenues of work that entail public presence and physical contact.With physical distancing having been mandated (and rightly so to prevent furthering of virus), transgender persons have been weaned away from our only source of work.

With no permanent sources of income, our condition is as vulnerable as daily wage earners,” the letter stated. The community representatives also urged the government to ensure uninterrupted supply of all essential medication to transgender persons, including ART medicine, tuberculosis care and treatment, hormone therapy and other gender-affirming procedures.

They welcomed the National Institute of Social Defense (NISD) for making an interim arrangement of provision of Rs 1,500 to around 4,500 transgender persons from different states, but said it covered less than 1 per cent of the overall national transgender population, going by the conservative estimates of Census 2011.

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