The lock-down has (most of) us watching shows and baking. But the implications of the lock-down has had adverse affects on the LBGTQ+ community. How so, one wonders.
The first thing I heard from someone when they learnt that I was going to write an article on this was, “But why are they getting special attention? Everyone’s stressed.” And I think that’s exactly why we need to address this situation. Sometimes we can gaslight someone without realizing it.
The LGBTQ+ community has always been oppressed. In a way, their mere existence is the proof of pure defiance of heteronomative norms. The queer community has been through a lot since time immemorial and are yet one of the most oppressed groups that exist in the fabric of the society. The queer community is completely forgotten when people talk about groups affected by pandemics, or any global crisis.
One of the worst affected groups of Covid-19 is the queer community.
With the lock-down being extended, the community is facing more problems than ever. Being quarantined as a queer individual has different consequences. Some queer individuals are stuck at their home with family members who do not understand them. When you are surrounded with people who actively try to ‘change you’ and make sure ‘you’re on the right path’, it can take a toll on your mental health. But unfortunately, this is the reality that a lot of individuals are living in.
Without access to therapy and medication, the situation gets a lot worse. We suspect a rise in rates of depression and anxiety during this time and a rise in helpline calls after the lock-down is over. Queer Community has also always been at the risk of homelessness, even in normal circumstances. The lock-down implies that they have two consequences: either stay home with family or stay somewhere else. But since a lot of them are out of jobs, they can’t afford rent which leaves them no choice but to go back home.
Closeted individuals are advised not to come out to their parents during this time. Maybe they wouldn’t react in a good way because they’re undergoing stress due to the pandemic. All in all, it is safe to say that the community is facing extremely difficult challenges during this time.
The worst affected group is the trans community.
Picture taken from here.
Telangana has about 1 lakh trans people. The trans community in Telangana has been forgotten by the government when it comes to Corona aid.
Trans people make their earnings by begging, or performing at weddings and functions or by sex work. They are also daily wage earners. A lot of transwomen who are sex workers are HIV-positive fall under the category of immunocompromised. They are at extreme high risk to get the virus. Read our article to know how corona virus affects the immunocompromised.
Transitioning individuals who are on hormones do not get their medication for it during this lockdown. Stopping medication midway is not recommended and this could cause a hormonal change in them and it messes with their mental health.
The Transfolk take one day at a time, so their earnings are not salaried. With the stigma around them, they hardly have any employment opportunities. They live from signal to signal and function to function. The lock-down means that when people are not travelling or holding functions, they don’t have any means to earn money.
They don’t have the privilege to shift to online mode or work from home.
They can’t afford that either. With everyone out of jobs, no one can afford their services either. At this point, the economy is taking a hit, which means not a lot of people are getting paid. Another major issue they face is housing. Since landlords don’t usually rent out to transfolk, they don’t find housing as easily. They live in community houses with ten people together. It spreads to ten other people, even if one is affected.
Government aid cannot be given to them. They don’t have documents with their preferred names and gender so that causes ‘confusion’ and ‘problems’ for the government. They’re left alone and to fend for themselves. A lot of them have the same fears that even though this will end, the implications of it will not…not for a long, long time.
Helplines one can reach out to:
- TISS ICall Helpline: 9152987820
Timings: Monday to Saturday, 10-6PM
- Another one by TISS, ICALL and Mariwala Health Initiative.
Number: 9372048501 or 9920241248 or 8369799513
Timings: Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 8PM
- THE HPQI MEDICAL HELPLINE
Health Professionals for Queer Indians Initiative is here to give free advice for the queer community in the medical or mental health field. You can reach out to them from Monday to Saturday, 8AM to 6PM on 9004404468
Pause for Perspective