A group of transgenders in Hyderabad have turned entrepreneurs to make a living. The group, who lost but their sustenance, which was mainly begging and sex work, are now making and selling ginger garlic paste and pickles to make ends meet.
The community members were brought together by the Trans Equality Society and are selling the items under the label 'Quickly'.
"We want to work and earn a respectful living like everyone else. But people won't come forward to give jobs. Even if we get jobs, there is stigma at the workplace. So now, we have created our own jobs," Jasmine, the founder of the Trans Equality Society, told The News Minute.
The Trans Equality Society engaged five trans women, applied for a licence, and got a certificate from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) before they started the business within their known circles.
"The pickle is natural. We do not mix any chemicals. We are trying to make our living, shouldn't people who always stigmatise us as beggars now buy our products?" Jasmine asks.
The food items are made hygienically after processing all ingredients. They are partially funded by Montfort Social Institute under their 'rainbow initiative'.
"When I left home 20 years ago, I lived on the footpath for a while and there was no support system. That's why I wanted to ensure that I could help my people and set up the society in March 2020. The same month, coronavirus hit us," Jasmine said, stating that she set up the society not only to help trans persons but any allies of the LGTBQ+ movement who are in distress.
"Many people couldn't eat, others couldn't pay rent. With the help of some organisations and some funds gathered, we helped with ration distribution and financial help. With the lockdown, there was no income and we decided to start this business," she added.