Kerala

Going gets tough for transgender persons amidst pandemic scare

LOST HOME: Transgender persons in front of the 'Snehakoodu' shelter home, which was closed down recently in Kozhikode following the shortage of fund. Photo: Special Arrangement  

As the pandemic continues to keep a firm grip on vulnerable sections, the future looks bleak for many of the State’s homeless transgender persons. Insecurity feeling is high among the community members as they are yet to get any reserved slot for preventive vaccination or priority medical care in case of confirming the viral infection. With the closure of the ‘Snehakoodu’ shelter homes across the State, many are finding it hard to manage the expenses of their rented houses.

“The shelter home in Kozhikode which had given accommodation to about 45 persons at different times was closed down recently following the expiry of the lease agreement. Those who sought refuge in rented houses are now struggling to pay the monthly amount. We need support to survive this period,” says transgender activist Sisily George. Ms. George who is also one of the members of the district-level transgender Justice Board points out that a convenient rehabilitation shelter with facilities for vaccination and treatment should be immediately made available for the community in every district.

In Kozhikode district alone, six transgender persons have already sought treatment for COVID-19 infection. Though none of them is critical now, there is fear among many of their counterparts who live in insecure premises. According to them, only a district-level facility exclusively for the marginalised section will only work well to get deserving care and consideration. They also believe that the district administrators or the Social Justice Department can easily think of such a service with the support of magnanimous sponsors.

Figures available with ‘Punarjani’, a city-based cultural society for transgender persons’ welfare, confirm that there are over 300 persons in Kozhikode district alone who seek the mercy of the State government for survival. The functionaries of the society point out that all of them deserve the free kit supplied by the Civil supplies Department. What they seek is the supply of such kits at-least once a month for overcoming the pandemic season. It should be materialised in such a way to cover the whole LGBT community members in the State.

Nagma Susmi, District Transgender Justice Board member and activist who now works with a recently opened help desk for the LGBT community members, says the demands will be submitted for the consideration of district administrators and State government for speedy action. “As you see, we have only very simple demands which will assure big protection to the poor community with about 4000 members who have already revealed their gender identity. The Chief Minister can definitely lend a helping hand,” she hopes.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 4:10:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/going-gets-tough-for-transgender-persons-amidst-pandemic-scare/article34527006.ece

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