Hyderabad: The nationwide lockdown has pushed the transgender community into deeper misery, with poverty now rubbing salt into the injuries of stigma and discrimination. As they say, it is during times of crisis that true heroes emerge.
In Telangana, it is Samantha, a transgender woman, who is showing true compassion and grit too, as she lends a helping hand to members of her community by delivering essentials door-to-door.
Hailing from Mukunoor village in Ibrahimpatnam, Samantha, who also volunteers with an NGO, Trans Equality Society, finishes by 8 am her daily chores, including cooking for her single mother, and gears up for a journey of about 60 km to Hyderabad in a seven-seater autorickshaw, which she has been driving for the last five years for a livelihood.
“Transgender persons are the utmost vulnerable and hard-hit during the crisis. Only 5 per cent of them have an Aadhaar or a ration card. The under-representation, stigma, and taboo attached to the community have made many avoid seeking help. Since it is not safe for anyone to step out in the current situation, a few transgender activists, including myself, decided to venture out and help others,” she said.
As soon as the lockdown was announced, Samantha, with the help of well-known transgender rights activist Rachana Mudraboyina, managed to obtain a pass from the State government that allows her to proceed with her distribution work efficiently.
She picks up essential items at a grocery store with the help of donations received and heads out to distribute them to the needy.
“So far, I’ve not faced any issues. The Police Department has been very supportive. I make sure I reach home by 7 pm every day once I complete my work by 5 pm,” she adds.
The Women and Transgender Organisations Joint Action Committee is supervising the initiative. It has identified 200 transgender women who are especially vulnerable and are looking to provide them with a monthly basic income of Rs 5,000 for the next two months. So far, Samantha has distributed grocery kits to nearly 400 beneficiaries.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.