|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 131-132
Vulnerable transgender community during COVID-19 and lockdown in India
Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
|Date of Submission||16-Jun-2020|
|Date of Decision||27-Jun-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||08-Jul-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||31-Mar-2021|
Dr. Jatin Chaudary
Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Chaudary J. Vulnerable transgender community during COVID-19 and lockdown in India. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2021;37:131-2
According to the Census of 2011, there were around 4.88 lakh transgender people in India with 55,000 children identified as transgender by their parents. Transgender people are one of the vulnerable and stigmatized groups in society. Because of their gender identity, they are rejected by their families and communities and are often socially marginalized. This has a grave impact on a transgender life, leading to isolation, poverty, violence, lack of social and economic support systems, compromised health outcomes, heightened risk for HIV, mental health disparities, and substance abuse. The community has recently become more vulnerable due to COVID crisis. Hatred and phobia against the community during the pandemic were seen in Hyderabad, where posters were put at various places as shown in [Figure 1] which reads that “Warning: Do not allow Kojja, Hijras near the shops. If you talk to them or have sex with them, you will be infected with Corona Virus. Beat and drive them away or call 100 immediately. Save people from Corona Virus Hijras.” Such incidents have made the pandemic worse for them.
|Figure 1: Transphobic Posters in Hyderabad (“Warning: Do not allow Kojja, Hijras near the shops. If you talk to them or have sex with them, you will be infected with Corona Virus. Beat and drive them away or call 100 immediately. Save people from Corona Virus Hijras”)|
Click here to view
The introduction of strong restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic has a substantial effect on the global economy, including an increase in the unemployment rate worldwide. Poverty hits the transcommunity hard as many are already unemployed in India. Since most of them are daily-wage earners forced to subsist on begging and sex work, the restrictive measures such as social distancing, self-isolation, and travel restrictions due to lockdown have affected them adversely. The worst part is that a large number of them do not have basic documentation, including Aadhaar, ration card, voter ID, or bank account in their self-identified name and gender. This pulls them outside the coverage of government social security schemes, such as rations and pensions, making it impossible to survive in these difficult times of lockdown.
Transgender people have some of their specific medical needs. Apart from having a higher prevalence of HIV/STI, they have other critical health concerns such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and tuberculosis. Most of them undergo various gender affirmation procedures such as cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery. Transpeople are on long-term hormone use during the transition phase. The barriers to the healthcare they have to face due to COVID crisis such as the lack of supply and availability of hormones, physician counseling, deficiency of proper monitoring of mental health issues, and other adverse events due to hormonal treatment may have detrimental consequences for transgender people.,
Transgender people need help during this pandemic from a multiple set of people such as government, community, healthcare workers, administrators, as well as NGOs. They can be empowered by providing them with the essential medicines such as hormones and HIV medicines, enrolling them in various health schemes, as well as providing the jobless with money and food, and generating funds targeted for transcommunity. The media should aware people and the government regarding the problems faced by transpeople during the pandemic, giving them a voice. The stigma attached to them should be curbed, and the people who are intentionally spreading rumors and attacking their dignity should be held. The healthcare workers should be motivated to give special attention toward this marginalized group and provide them with essential care, mental health counseling, and consultation through telemedicine or special day clinics.,
The governments, policymakers, and the private sector should actively consider the difficulties and situation faced by transgender people when planning to address the healthcare crisis and implement suitable strategies to help this minority group during this pandemic. In addition, transgender persons should be engaged while planning any activity for them as they can better tell what services are most needed and in what way they should be provided to transgender communities.,
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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