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Lockdown taking its toll on transgender persons

PESHAWAR: The lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic has brought routine life to a grinding halt, leaving little space for people to make ends meet at a time of unprecedented slum in business activities.

But one group of people, who find it difficult to keep body and soul together, are the members of the transgender community.

Though most of the people have started feeling the pinch, they are the ones who were hit hard as holding gatherings and functions were banned to check the spread of the coronavirus.

Given the soaring coronavirus cases, the government has imposed Section 144 to prevent gatherings and functions.

Faced with starvation, the members of the transgender community staged protest demonstrations, seeking financial help from the government.

The irony is that they also face injustice and have a sense of insecurity, braving bullying from outlaws.

In their separate chats with The News, the transgendered people shared their miseries and difficulties, saying though government officials expressed sympathy with them, nothing practical was done to provide them respectable jobs.

Sherinay said she had a bachelor’s degree and applied for jobs but lady luck was yet to smile on her.

“The cumbersome procedures to apply for a job discouraged me so I have stopped applying to jobs,” she said, adding there should be a proper quota for them in government services.

Shabnam said she was living with colleagues and guru, who were managing for iftar and sehr. She said they offered prayers and recited the Holy Quran to seek blessings from the Almighty.

She complained that life has become difficult for them. She said the transgendered people were already facing a plethora of problems. “We have to dance to eke out a living. We have no choice,” she said in a choking voice.

She said they could not perform in the holy month but even before Ramazan, the coronavirus and lockdowns had shrunk business. “We know and understand this problem but we are also human beings,” she added. “Has anybody thought about us?” she asked, feeling empty.

She said that though some God-fearing persons provided them help, it was not sufficient for them. “We need a permanent solution to our issues,” she demanded.

The Al-Khidmat Foundation is one of the welfare organisations, which provided them with the Ramazan package.

Al-Khidmat Foundation district president Abdul Haseeb said they distributed Ramazan and Eid package among the members of the transgender community in Peshawar.

Al-Khidmat Foundation provincial president Khalid Waqas said his organisation believed in serving the vulnerable sections of the society without any discrimination.

He said that his organisation was considering imparting vocational training to the transgendered persons so that they could live a respectable life.