'Coronavirus does not discriminate; it does not distinguish between people on the basis of class, caste, race, gender...'
In the past few weeks, you may have read a status or a forward that goes like this. However, the reality is that while all are susceptible to this dangerous disease, our abilities to stay safe from it, stay healthy and secure during the lockdown, and access treatment for it are heavily determined by structures of class, caste, race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. You might be able to stock up on rations and work from home, but this is a privilege that is not afforded to many marginalised and vulnerable communities across the country.
One such critically marginalised community is the transgender community.
We at Wajood Goa, an organisation working for the safety and civil rights of trans people in the state of Goa, urgently request your support and help on the behalf of 30 transgender persons with whom we work, many of whom are daily-wage migrants and are not able to get rations, medicines and funds needed to survive.
Due to the lockdown imposed in the country, the livelihoods of these 30 trans people, some of whom are sex workers, have been endangered as they used to earn a daily wage and have no financial security. As a majority of them are migrants, they also have high rent costs to pay even during this lockdown, and do not have the income to do so. Last-mile delivery of rations and essential supplies has not been fully possible and accessible to the poor in Goa, a state which initially saw a harsh 100% lockdown in violation of the Centre's guidelines. The discrimination that trans people face has not at all diminished even during a crisis situation; rather, it stands between them and their survival.
In addition to this, some of the trans people have important and urgent requirements for hormone therapy and sexual reconstruction surgery (SRS), which is a gender-affirming medical procedure that is life-saving for trans people. A cease in regular doses of medicines and hormones leads to further health complications down the line. It is therefore essential that funds be raised for these purposes as well so that trans people's physical and mental health is not harmed during this period.
Towards this end, Wajood Goa proposes the following plan:
- We aim to provide a monthly basic income for each of the 30 trans people associated with our organisation for the next 3 months (May, June and July 2020).
A blueprint of how the monthly income will be used is given below:
|Contribution towards rent/other essentials (including pet food, medicines, etc)||3000|
This is a tentative breakdown of how the funds will be utilised. Those who have to pay rent (27 people) will be given an income of Rs. 8000 per month to buy the above essentials, while those who live with family (3 people) will be given Rs. 5000 per month, excluding the rent contribution amount. Updates will be communicated to donors in case there is any change in how the funds will be used (some community members may not require or prefer some items on the above list; an exhaustive list has been made to cover all requirements).
- 2 of the recipients require Rs. 1,00,000 each for SRS and ongoing hormone therapy. Although the government has released guidelines on which surgeries can and cannot be conducted during this time, we would like to help raise funds for these surgeries all the same so that whenever these restrictions are lifted, the recipients will have the funds ready to go through with an extremely essential and life-saving surgery and so that they do not have to miss any dosages of hormones or medicines during this time.
- Totally, the cost of the monthly basic income for 3 months comes to Rs. 8000x27x3 + 5000x3x3= Rs. 6,48,000+ Rs. 45,000= Rs. 6,93,000.
- The cost of SRS and hormone therapy for 2 trans persons comes to Rs. 1,00,000x2= Rs. 2,00,000.
The total amount urgently required is Rs. 8,93,000. We are keen to meet this target and even exceed it as there is always a need for more funds to protect this vulnerable community. Please be generous and donate whatever you can to ensure that trans people in Goa can live safely during the COVID-19 epidemic.
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28 lives have changed as a result of donors' support.