As the country is fighting with COVID19, members of the Transgender community have been critically affected by the pandemic majorly because of serious disruption of livelihoods. The current situation in the country is compelling this marginalized community into extreme distress and acute shortage of basic needs like food and health.
Subsistence Allowance for Transgender Persons
Distressed calls and emails have been made by the members of the Transgender community seeking Government help and support in light of the current situation. The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment being the nodal ministry for Transgender Welfare has decided to provide a subsistence allowance of Rs.1500 to each Transgender person as immediate support to meet their basic requirements. This financial assistance will help the Transgender community to meet their day-to-day needs. NGOs and Community-based Organisations(CBOs) working for Transgender Persons have been asked to spread awareness about this step.
How to apply
Any Transgender Person or CBOs on behalf of the Transgender Person can apply for financial assistance after providing basic details, Aadhar, and Bank Account number in a form https://forms.gle/H3BcREPCy3nG6TpH7. This form is available on the website of the National Institute of Social Defence, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. To ensure that the information about this reaches a maximum number of Transgender Persons, this form is also being circulated on social media with the help of NGOs and CBOs.
The Ministry provided similar financial assistance and ration kits to Transgender persons during lockdown last year too. A total amount of 98.50 lakh rupees was incurred which benefitted nearly 7000 Transgender Persons across the country.
Counselling Services Helpline
As people facing mental health problems do not feel comfortable about seeking help due to the stigma around it, a free helpline for distressed Transgender Persons owing to the current pandemic for psychological support and mental health care has also been announced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Any Transgender Person can connect with experts on the Helpline Number 8882133897. This helpline will be functional from Monday to Saturday between 11 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM. On this helpline, counselling services will be provided by professional Psychologists for their mental health.
Vaccination of transgenders
A letter has also been written by the Ministry to the Principal Secretaries of all states to ensure that there is no discrimination against Transgender persons in existing Covid /vaccination centers. They have also been requested to conduct awareness drives especially reaching out to the Transgender community in different vernaculars to ensure they are informed and aware of the vaccination process. A request has also been made to the states to organize separate mobile vaccination centers or booths for vaccination of Transgender persons such as those taken up in the states of Haryana & Assam.