Transgenders in Kashmir are facing hard times as the back-to-back lockdowns — the lockdown after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, and the two lockdowns following the COVID-19 pandemic — dealt a blow to the economics of the small community in Kashmir rendering many jobless. “We don’t have any work to do during the lockdown, we are sitting idle in our homes,” said Falak Khan, a transgender.
“We didn’t have food to eat. During the lockdown, we spent all our money. We earn our livelihood by taking part in dance programs in Srinagar, Jammu, and Delhi. Nobody has helped us during the lockdown, we want the lockdown to end for an end to our problems.” The transgender community of Kashmir comprising about 4,000 members has traditionally remained marginalized with most of them discriminated against and stereotyped in the role of matchmakers.
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With no permanent source of income, the community is seeking help during the lockdown period. They say meager monthly assistance of Rs 1,000 announced earlier by the government for them is inadequate. After their economic condition worsened in the last two years some volunteers have come forward to help them by providing free rations to tide over the crisis during the lockdown. Relief materials including food grains were distributed among the community members in Srinagar.
“We are self-respecting people, we are being patient during the pandemic and are hoping that things will improve in the future,” said Khushi, a transgender who took part in the distribution of food materials. “Some people have now come forward to help us with rations and other materials and that’s really a welcome step.” (IANS/JC)