Jammu and Kashmir: Voluntary group extends helping hand to transgenders amid COVID-19 pandemic


Srinagar: The pandemic has hit almost all sections of society in more ways than one. Scores of people have been left jobless and many have been left to fend for themselves as lockdowns have prolonged in Jammu and Kashmir. One of the less talked about sections is the transgender community in the state, which seems to have been severely impacted as their sources of income have dried up.

Khushi Mir, a transgender from Srinagar has been without a job for more than a year. Khushi is a make-up artist and she has not had a client since the start of the pandemic. Her clients mostly were brides and due to lockdown, there were no weddings which meant no business for her.

But that did not stop her from creating a group where not only has she managed to help herself but hundreds of other transgenders. She along with four young boys have made a volunteer group and are distributing food kits to the transgender community.

Khushi managed to make a network among the transgender community in the valley. They have listed 400 so far. These transgenders were make-up artists, singers and matchmakers. But due to lockdown, they have lost their livelihoods.

‘A friend called me a few weeks ago and was in a very desperate situation, they had no food. I tried helping first on a personal level but later when I started getting more calls, I got in touch with Uzair. We are a group of five and we are trying our best to reach as many transgenders as possible. We have a list of 400 with us and slowly we are providing food kits to all of them,” said Khushi Mir.

Since the transgender community in the valley has to go through harassment and humiliation every now and then, it has impacted the vaccination process among the community. To avoid harassment at the vaccination centres, they are requesting the government to make a special vaccination drive or centre for their community.

”We want separate vaccination centres for our community. Some people make fun of us while we walk on the roads, we don’t want to go through that humiliation during our vaccination. So, a small vaccination centre for us would be a great help by the government,” said Khushi Mir.

Among the other four members of the group are Mir Junaid and Uzair Dar. They have managed to crowdfund this project. Multiple people and organisations from across the country have donated for this cause.

”We distribute a ration kit of these transgenders. The kit Includes 25 kg of rice, 5 litre oil,  spices, tea, sugar and salt. It costs us around 2500 rupees to make a kit. We have a list of 400 transgenders in total with us. In our first drive, we managed to reach out to 50 people,” said Uzair Dar.

The community has claimed that they have not received any help from the government.

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