The back-to-back lockdowns have dealt an enormous blow to the economy of the transgender community in Kashmir, who are having a tough time making their ends meet.
Comprising of about 4,000 members, the coronavirus induced lockdown has rendered the already marginalized small community jobless. The community earns their livelihood primarily by singing and dancing at weddings or being involved in match-making. The distressed section is now seeking help from people during the pandemic.
With no public gatherings, the valley's LGBTQ residents have been compelled to live with hostile family members who often subject them to all kinds of abuse, Al Jazeera reported.
Muskan, a 26-year-old transgender person, has been in the match-making business since 2017 and would also perform at weddings for money. But she met with the financial crisis in April this year after the nationwide lockdown was announced.
"We were at the brink of starvation. Weddings were postponed and I had to look for another source of livelihood," Muskan told Al Jazeera.
A pension scheme was announced last year, under which each transgender person was entitled to receive a meagre 1,000 rupees every month. However, the policy is yet to be implemented on the ground and many questioned if the amount is sufficient amid the ever-rising cost of living, Al Jazeera reported.
As per the 2011 Census, a total of 477 transgender people are present in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, but only 98 persons had registered with the Department of Social Welfare. However, there is no written documentation, official or unofficial, available to assess their lives and lifestyle and how they have come out as an existing ingroup, states JK Policy Institute, a Srinagar based independent youth-driven think- tank.
There are very few occupations available for them in the valley through which they can sustain themselves financially. If reports are to be believed, even those opportunities have been curtailed now, it stated.