Transgender persons are one of the most discriminated people in India. In the hetero normative binary patriarchal society the transgender identified individuals are considered as inconceivable, deviant and 'abnormal'. Even more so is the transfeminine population, considered as a derogatory identity. Due to lack of family support, livelihood options coupled with health risks and social stigma the transfeminine individuals face existential crisis. The ongoing Corona crisis has amplified the challenges faced by the already marginalised trans-community. Their right to life has been temporarily suspended in this pandemic. While this isn’t something new, the pandemic pushes their existence to the precipice. The precarious situation they find themselves in has many dimensions. They are not being able to carry on specific livelihoods like begging, dancing in festivals, dancing in bars, and sex work. The new norm of social distancing has put them apart from their friends and preferred families. They are often abused by their biological families. Many of them are in the transition process where their gender identity has not been updated in their documents such as their ration card. In this situation, such discrepancies deprive them of even receiving the basic services being provided by the state such as access to free rations. Their livelihood has come to a grinding halt. Transgenders are not at all getting any kind of support from anywhere.
The second wave of COVID-19 has hit India hard, with over 10,000 new cases being reported every day in states like West Bengal. At a time when social distancing has to be maintained and local transport services remain restricted, the trans and gender-diverse communities in the region have lost their main sources of livelihood such as begging and sex work. We can no longer perform at events or social gatherings including weddings. Some of the trans migrant laborers have also been forced to return to Bengal after losing their jobs in cities like Mumbai, due to the lockdown. Consequently, we are struggling to pay for our basic needs – food and medical
Ekta 24 Pargana is , a community-based organization has been supporting trans people for the last one year. However, our funds have dried up and we need to raise Rs 12,00,000 to support about 300 trans and gender-diverse people across Kolkata, South 24 Parganas districts in Bengal for at least the next three months.
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Break-up of expenses:
Groceries delivery: 3 months x Rs. 1000 x 300 persons: Rs. 9,00,000/-
Medicines: 3 months x Rs. 1000 x 300 persons = Rs. 3,00,000/-
Total: Rs. 12,00,000.