Food kits for transgender persons

They have been facing difficult times in COVID-19 pandemic

Updated - January 10, 2022 10:53 am IST

Published - September 24, 2020 09:05 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The State government has again sanctioned food kits to 1,000 transgender persons.

The State had become the first to provide food kits to transgender persons in the first phase of lockdown in March. With the spike in disease, transgender persons have been facing a difficult time.

The government has now sanctioned food kits to the tune of ₹700 each to 1,000 transgender persons who have ID cards, those who have completed screening for the cards, and those who have applied for it.

However, this number forms only a small percentage of the total number of transgender persons in the State. A socio-economic survey in 2014-15 had estimated the number of transgenders in the State at 25,000. They have been further pushed to the margins of society by the pandemic.

Apoorva, a transgender person, used to work as a cook at the Social Justice Department’s shelter for transwomen at Karakkamandapam here but after it closed down, had no income. Consequently, Apoorva had to move back home with her parents. She is also worried about how to meet the hospital expenses of her parents.

Ruby, who too had worked at the same shelter home, had taken up fish business. But after a friend died, all the savings were wiped out. She has not been working since. The rent on her house has been adjusted against the advance, but with no money in hand, she has no option but to move out the next month.

Community members say the food kits provided by the government or the assistance of ₹1,500 provided by the National Institute of Social Defence are only a drop in the ocean. Some have got a breather after shifting to the shelter homes run by the community under a government project.

The increase in funds sanctioned for sex reassignment surgery from ₹2 lakh to ₹5 lakh and self-employment loans announced by the KSWDC are welcome steps, but financial assistance is necessary to tide over the difficult times, they say.

Their hopes are now pinned on a proposal for government assistance of ₹1,000 for 800 transgender persons.

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