Report by Faizan Mir
Janjwar, Kashmir. After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A in August 2019, shops and business establishments shut down in Kashmir. The restrictions continued for five months, particularly affecting daily wagers, businessmen, and the marginalized. Now, with the second Double lockdown because of Covid19, their condition has been further exacerbated.
Of these people, the transgender community is one of the worst hit in Kashmir. The marginalized community in the valley depends largely on arranging marriages (locally known as mazemyaraz), and singing and dancing at occasions, for their livelihood.
As people are cancelling weddings due to pandemic, the trans community have been rendered jobless. The lockdown has exposed and enhanced the deep gashes of inequality prevalent in society. Many people find themselves homeless as paying rent has become difficult especially during this time.
Discrimination against the transgender community is not new in Kashmir said a local transgender.
There are some noble souls who are helping us in these difficult times without publicizing it," said one of the protesting transgenders
One of the contributors wishing not to be named told this Reporter that she along with her friends is trying to help this community. "We are distributing food among the community so that the members receive temporary relief. They had no food. We tried helping them first on the personal level but later when we started getting more calls, we got in touch with other like-minded people.
We are a group of 30 members now, trying our best to reach out to as many transgenders as possible in our Kashmir Valley. We are providing food and other essentials to all of them," the contributor said.
The group is trying to generate funds so that they can help more people in the community. These transgenders are make-up artists, singers and matchmakers. The lockdown has taken away their livelihoods.
The transgender community is also being left behind when it comes to health care. They allege harassment and humiliation every now and then at healthcare institutions. They want separate vaccination centers for their community.
"Some people poke fun at us, while we walk on the roads."
The community claims that they have been ignored and hardly received any help from the government.