Covid-19 is pandemic which affects whole world brutally. It affects economy, health, and education etc. of every country. Many people brutally affected by this virus or Covid-19. In this pandemic situation transgender affect very brutally and their conditions became worst. In any society, they are marginalised by people mostly in developing countries and backward countries. In India and many other countries, this communityhaveonly few options for their earning like begging on traffic signals and worked as sex worker which was reduced or they are unable to work for their livelihood because of lockdown and this pandemic. The data shows that 54% of transgender people had reduced work hours due to Covid-19 as compared to the general population.[i] In this pandemic, these communities are unable to access health care even doctors and people do not help these communities because of their gender identity and discourage them from using health care services. In this article, we will discuss Covid-19 effect on transgender community, violation of their legal and fundamental rights being a citizen, excluded from government schemes and discussed few ideas for their better living.
COVID-19 EFFECT ON TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY
Transgender community has been hit hard by the Covid-19. During amid lockdown and pandemic their source of livelihood was destroyed because 4.88 lakh transgender people are forced to earn their livelihood by dancing in wedding ceremonies, begging of traffic signals or worked as a sex worker[ii] and during the lockdown period movement form one place to another was restricted. So, how, they can earn money for their livelihood. In an interview, two persons from transgender community, Bobby and Ram Kali said that government provided food in schools and other places where they face numerous comments about their identity and staring them with unpleasant eyes even they behave weirdly and badly and step away from queues because they are uncomfortable with them and do not realise they are human. These people always have ration, earning problems and living problems.
COVID-19 AFFECT RIGHTS OF TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY
Covid-19 has negative effect on rights of transgender community whether it is a fundamental right or legal right. There are so many rights which have negative impact or violation of these rights. These rights are as follows which are impacted by this pandemic:
- Right to Health and Access to Health Care: Right to health is a fundamental right of the citizens of India irrespective of sex and right to access health care and welfare measure is a legal right under Transgender Act, 2019. Everyone has right to good health and in Transgender Act, every transgender has right to access health but Covid-19 restricted their right to access health care for many transgender people. During this pandemic, Medical staffs misbehaving and discriminating them because of their sexual orientation. Government also does not provide any quarantine centre for them. There were no guidelines regarding their Covid-19 treatment and quarantine centre where people discriminate and behave weird with them.
- Right to Food: Right to food is a fundamental and basic right which is necessary for anyone’s living but these people do not have any ration and ration card or any other identity card because of their sexual orientation so they can get ration from government at very low prices.
- Rehabilitation and Right to Residence, Right to Livelihood: These people do not have money for food and ration so how they can pay the rent of their residence. Right to livelihood and residence are their fundamental and legal right respectively. So, during this pandemic, it is the duty of government to provide their residence or house to transgender community.
- ·Prohibition of Discrimination against Transgender: Transgender Act, 2019 ensures prohibition of discrimination against transgender but due to Covid-19, this discrimination increases rapidly at every public place like hospitals, quarantine centre, ration shop and their place of living etc.[iii]
This pandemic more marginalised the transgender community by society. Their rights get violated and have negative impact but government does not take such steps to save their rights. Rights of transgender community affected all over the world in developed, developing and backward countries. They find difficulty in treatment or access to health care and their livelihood and no government or country announced any special guidelines for this community.
TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY EXCLUDED FROM GOVERNMENT SCHEMES
During this pandemic where millions of people become extreme poor and crossed to below poverty line, government launched many schemes for people and many sector but government excluded transgender community for their schemes and there were no special scheme for them. More than 2,100 people from the transgender community have written to government for special package for them which includes a fixed income of minimum Rs.3000/- per month till the Covid-19 is in control but the government ignored the letter and not announced any schemes for them. They also demanded for supply of all essential or necessary medication to transgender persons, no rent shall be pay the people of transgender community and provide free ration to them every month. Because of government this community become more backward and marginalised in the society because government take any initiative step towards them. They launched various schemes to poor people, agriculture and industrial sector but not for them.[iv]
In my opinion, transgender community becomes more backward in society, this pandemic increases discrimination against them. This discrimination reduced and their situation can be improved by government by taking such initiative action like they have to provide medical facilities, free ration and livelihood. They have to made special provision regarding the quarantine centre and the places where they fed by government at free of cost because at that place people behaveweird with them. They should announced schemes for them and provide job facilities to them after lockdown. They are also the citizens of the country. NGOs and social groups helped a lot and doing great work. Because of government their situations become worst during this pandemic, which also affect society. Their unhygienic conditions increase the Covid-19 cases and death rate of people. We should also help the not for projects or work but also for humanity. Their rights should be preserved because during this pandemic their conditions in every country all over the world become worst.
[i] HRC Staff, How Transgender and Non-Binary Communities Around the World Are Being Impacted by COVID-19, HRC, last visited on 10th August,2020, https://www.hrc.org/news/how-transgender-and-non-binary-communities-are-impacted-by-COVID19-globally
[ii] Hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic, transgender community struggles to find its feet, The New Indian Express, last visited on 11th August 2020, https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2020/jul/19/hit-hard-by-covid-19-pandemic-transgender-community-struggles-to-find-its-feet-2171906.html
[iv]Shemin Joy, DHNS, Deccanherald, Excluded from govt schemes during lockdown, transgenders demand special package, last visited on 13th August 2020, https://www.deccanherald.com/national/excluded-from-govt-schemes-during-lockdown-transgenders-demand-special-package-830945.html