STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

NGOs come together to support trans community in Kolkata

29-year-old D Chatterjee, the only breadwinner in her family, lost her job as a dancer at weddings soon after the government of India put a halt to gatherings.

Published: 08th January 2021 06:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2021 06:01 PM   |  A+A-

LGBT, Third Gender, Rainbow

For representational purposes

Online Desk

KOLKATA: As the world battled the COVID-19 pandemic, India's transgender community bore the brunt of the pandemic -- in several cases, alone. 

The structurally oppressed community, which lives on the margins, suffered a financial blow after the pan-country lockdown kicked in halting sex work and begging, both key sources of their income.

D Chatterjee, a 29-year-old trans woman from Kolkata, has the responsibility of feeding six mouths at home. Chatterjee, the only breadwinner in her family, lost her job as a dancer at weddings soon after the government of India put a halt to gatherings. The absence of basic documentation including Aadhaar, ration card, voter ID or bank accounts further isolated Chatterjee and her community. 

In May last year, at least 2,000 transgender activists had written to the Centre to institute basic monthly income, and ensure access to ration and essential supplies, including medication.

In Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee government announced free rations for the transgenders till June 2021, which could be availed through the token system. However, the absence of personal documentation has made it difficult for the community to access such schemes.

ALSO READ | How women across the world led stories of resistance in 2020

H Khantun, a trans woman who used to earn her living from sex work, faced an unprecedented crisis in 2020. 

That was until the Population Foundation of India (a national NGO) and Kolkata Rista (an NGO working for trans rights) came together to extend help to her and many others from the city's transgender community. 

"During the pandemic, they have struggled to receive financial aid and medical assistance.  Population Foundation of India works across the country to reach the most marginalised and vulnerable but the stories we encountered in Kolkata were distressing beyond measure because they stemmed from systemic social discrimination of an entire community," said Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, Population Foundation of India.

Without the help I received, I don't know how I would have fended for my family and myself, Chatterjee, another beneficiary, said.

ALSO READ | Covid and personalisation of the Big Fat Indian wedding

Over the past year, both the NGOs have extended financial support to at least 400 families and ensured access to basic amenities. 

"It is heartening that a mainstream organisation like the Population Foundation of India helped us to reach out to so many in need. I hope this inspires other NGOs to take notice of transgender issues," said Dr Santosh Kumar Giri, spokesperson for Kolkata Rista. 
 



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp