All of us will remember the year 2020 as the year of pandemic. Not just physical, but the mental stress it has given to every strata of the society is uncanny. From the government to self-help groups—everyone is playing their part to ensure that people don’t feel the heat of the pandemic, especially when it comes to mental health.
But why are people so worried? Well because nobody has ever been in such a situation ever before. Not going to the office, kids only attending online classes with no face to face interaction with their peers, and getting locked in our homes —all of this has made a difference. And now even a government survey agrees that this has been a really difficult year, more so for some people.
A report from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment suggests that transgender, elderly and the disabled population had a difficult 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic which kept us on our toes throughout the year.
While the elderly battled high susceptibility to covid-19, transgenders and the disabled population were hit by its social repercussions.
Relegated to the sidelines of the society, many of the country’s estimated 4.88 lakh transgender people are forced to make a living through begging, dancing at celebrations like weddings and sex work, according to rights groups.
But ever since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, many trans community members have lost their means of livelihood and have been struggling to earn.
They say they have been subjected to taunts, verbal abuse and domestic violence by their partners and family members in the last few months.
Meera Parida, co-founder of NGO Sakha, said, “The covid-19 outbreak has pushed us back to those times when we were struggling to come to terms with our identity, get heard and save ourselves from life-threatening challenges.” In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, she urged the government to consider the concerns of transgenders while framing policies and strategies.
“The trans community needs the help and support of the society and the government more than ever now,” she noted.
The disabled community battled the impact of the disease and also that of social distancing.
Touch, which is the most prevalent means of spreading covid-19, is also the most prevalent method to communicate for most disabled people, especially those visually impaired.
They also struggled with e-education with lack of facilities for them like translators on the online medium.
Elderly, especially those living in old age homes, also had a difficult year due to their high susceptibility to covid-19.
(With inputs from PTI)