Life has been difficult for the transgender community in Chennai during the lockdown, and it is unlikely to improve even once the restrictions are eased. For the most part, transgender people have had to rely on begging to survive, but lockdown has pushed them off the streets. Despite the fact that civic life is gradually returning to pre-lockdown days, residents of this hamlet are still unable to visit their favorite spots. Without a source of income and a large number of mouths to feed, the less fortunate sectors of society are in a stressful situation, which is made worse by the statewide lockdown imposed by the coronavirus COVID-19.
In the face of such a catastrophe, the transgender community in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and other areas of the state has pooled their resources and efforts to guarantee that they can safely navigate the situation. The population has been reliant on rations given by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Tamil Nadu government has also been providing Rs 1,000 per month to each member of the group, but they claim this is insufficient to pay rent and other living expenses.
The Tamil Nadu government has informed the Madras High Court that it is reviewing a plea to offer Covid-19 monetary compensation to all transgender individuals. Advocate General R Shanmugasundaram delivered the submission before the first bench, which consisted of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy. The government has launched a programme to distribute Covid-19 monetary assistance of Rs 4,000 to all rice-ration-cardholders on behalf of the State’s Cooperation, Food, and Consumer Protection Department. Due to the difficulties transgender people have while changing their name and gender identification, they may not be eligible for a ration card.
Furthermore, no separate vaccination push for transgender people should be held, with the exception of aiding them in registering online and providing unique immunization slots in community health centres.
The state has made no efforts to create guidelines or awareness programmes to give transgender people the confidence to get the immunisation. This includes HIV-positive people who are at risk of contracting the infection. There is apprehension among transgender people who are undergoing hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery about taking the Covid-19 vaccine. The only request is that a dedicated hotline number be established to answer their questions and raise awareness.
Many transgender people do not have government identification cards. When several of them attempted to register for an ID card last year, the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Department informed them that, on the directives of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, everything was now done online. They stated that from now on, only the Centre will be able to issue ID cards.
Author: Enitha R,
Student - Tamilnadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University