Published: 28th June 2020
Four months of lockdown later, transgenders struggle for basic sustenance
Activist Grace Banu has been working to help over 200 transgender citizens across Tamil Nadu
When the lockdown was first announced, activist Grace Banu knew that this would heavily impact the transgender community. Working for living in a 'normal' COVID-less world was hard enough, and with the world shut down, the community had no way of coping. Understanding this, Banu started a fundraiser online with the hopes that people will contribute.
It has now been three months since the lockdown was announced and the community is struggling to put any food on the plate. Things were difficult in March but now the community members are scared that things may not improve and the pressure on them on an everyday basis has increased, "At least the first two months, landlords did not mind that we were not able to pay the rent because of the lockdown. They knew that everyone was struggling so they could not force anyone to pay but now we are in the fourth month and they have begun to demand the rent for four months. So where will we go now? The pressure is just mounting," Banu tells us.
"All forms of government support have dried up and any forms of ration relief announced by the state rarely reach those without ration cards or other forms of government identification," Banu says. As previously reported, most transgender citizens have not been able to apply or acquire their aadhar cards, "When accessing an Aadhar card itself is a herculean task, how can the government expect us to avail the benefits that it is promising to give us and now anyway there is almost no government support," she adds.
"Even if these transgender women go out to beg, how much will they get? Just a rupee or two. If they ask anyone, they tell them they they also are suffering because of the lockdown so how will they be able to give them any money, " she asks.
Banu says that all the initial support that they received from the crowdfunding platforms have dried up. She is trying to raise funds for over 200 transgender persons across Tamil Nadu, "This includes several individuals who are immunocompromised due to their age or HIV status, folk artists who have had their income wiped away by the lockdown, and those who depended on street work to earn a living."
You can donate to the cause here - https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/gracebanu?payment=form