THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Disowned by her family, Revathi J R, a transwoman, has been working as a housekeeper for more than five years to eke out a living. However, the second wave of the pandemic rendered her jobless. She is now surviving on the food provided by community kitchens.
“Before the lockdown, I used to earn up to Rs 10,000 a month. However, the residential society where I was working stopped allowing outsiders into its complex due to the second wave. Since then, I have been looking for other jobs,” shares Revathi, who stays at a rented house in Ambalamukku.
Revathi hasn’t been able to pay the house rent of Rs 6,000 since the lockdown began in May. “However, my landlord is understanding. I am ready to do any job, but nobody is willing to employ me as I am a transwoman,” she adds.
Employers and residents associations have made it mandatory for house help to either get an RT-PCR test or vaccination before getting back to work. “As instructed by my employers I got tested and vaccinated. I hope they call me back for work,” Revathi says.
Living on food kits
Like Revathi, many other transpersons across the state lost their jobs and are struggling to survive amid the pandemic. Anannyah Kumari Alex, a makeup artist, says, “We are daily wage workers and get paid only when we have work. Most of the weddings are cancelled and TV shoots have been stalled due to Covid and lockdown. I recently underwent my sex reassignment surgery and it did not go well.
As a result, I am suffering from multiple health issues. I am unable to pay for the medicine that costs around Rs 2,000 monthly.” Anannyah says she is depending on the food kits provided by various charity organisations, like many others from her community. “We don’t know how long we will be able to survive this way,” she adds.