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April 13, 2020

Transvestites seek relief in face of lockdown

Peshawar

April 13, 2020

PESHAWAR: The members of the transgender community are also facing the brunt of the coronavirus lockdown as they are unable to pay the rent of their rooms in various plazas and buildings in different parts of the provincial capital and other districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“We are the most unfortunate human beings on earth because neither the federal nor the provincial government has bothered to consider our plight. The government and the philanthropists are giving relief package to others, but have ignored us as if we are not humans,” said one Shakila.

Living with her other colleagues in a room at Faqirabad locality in the provincial capital, Shakila said she had to pay the rent and had other needs. She said the city had gone into lockdown, which added to their woes, adding that marriages and functions were not being held.

“It hurt us when the federal and provincial governments announced relief packages for industrialists and government servants, but ignored the most neglected section of the society,” she said. While supporting the point of view of Shakila, her friend Jamila said that she had never begged in her life and would not do so because she was healthy and young. “I believe that one should work hard but there is no work for us,” she elaborated.

An elderly transgender said she had saved some money, which she spent on her treatment and was now living a difficult life. She was not aware of the exact numbers but claimed that there were thousands of transgender people living a miserable life in rented rooms.

Transgender people live in various buildings in Gulberg, Shama Market, Nauthia, Ganj, Dilazak Road, Pardabagh, Haji Camp and Sethi Town, Lahori Gate and other localities in Peshawar. In their separate chats with The News, they narrated their ordeals and seemed disappointed with existing state of affairs. They said some NGOs were previously active but they had also stopped working. Almost all of them had the same problems, saying they had been performing mostly in rural areas but now the people avoided attending gatherings and functions. They asked the authorities to include them in relief packages, particularly the aged transgender, who were compelled to seek alms. “Earlier, we were worried about our security, but now we are worried about food, shelter and medicines,” said another transgender Nazo. She added though the landlord had not demanded the monthly rent, she was worried for the food, and medicines because she was unwell and had stopped dancing even before the lockdown due to illness.