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Posters In Hyderabad Blame Transgenders For The Spread Of Coronavirus. Is This What We Do Now?

First, the discrimination against people from the NE, now blaming the transgender community for the spread of coronavirus. Are we totally losing humanity?

First, the discrimination against people from the NE, now blaming the transgender community for the spread of coronavirus. Are we totally losing humanity?

The COVID-19 pandemic has managed to grip the entire world with the number of cases only increasing. India has reported more than 4000 cases and as many as 114 casualties. The country is under a strict lockdown and people are asked to maintain social distance. While the world battles the pandemic, some people are still living with their racial and transphobic thoughts, especially here, in India.

People in various parts of the country call it the ‘China-Virus’ and thanks to their narrow minds, vent out their anger at the North-Eastern community too. Simply because they bear some resemblance to the Chinese people, the people from the NE have always been ‘chinkis’ instead of Indians to a lot of people. 

As if that discrimination wasn’t enough, the privileged community has found a new target. They are dragging and shaming the transgender community and blaming them for the spread of the virus. The reason behind this? Honestly, there is none, except people’s idiocy.

COVID-19 showing true sides of transphobia

An example of this would be a poster stuck in Hyderabad’s Ameerpet metro station. The poster reads, “Warning: Do not allow Kojja, Hijras near the shops. If you talk to them or have sex with them, you will be infected with Coronavirus. Beat & drive them away or call 100 immediately. Save people from Coronavirus Hijras.”

What we need to understand here is that just because someone is not comfortable with a certain community’s lifestyle, they aren’t entitled to shame them. Right now, most of us are sitting in the comforts of our own homes, most of us are safe.

However, the transgender community is one that is still struggling for mere survival in most parts. They are discriminated against, forced to live in almost terrible conditions and barely have government funds allotted to them. And to top it all off, their income majorly depends on social contact. So in times of social distancing, their livelihood is at stake. And despite all this, they have shown humanity and stepped forward to help in times of need.

Discrimination by the privileged 

The pandemic has given people the chance to feed on their age-old racist and transphobic nature. Their real colours are showing now.

Transgenders are being shamed. People from the North East are being beaten and spat on. Social media is full of privileged people being awful to the underprivileged.

To add to all this, casteism also seems to be back with people comparing social distancing to untouchability. And that has made a lot of upper-caste Indians secretly happy to be able to re-establish untouchability, regardless that it is short-term. The virus seems to have given people another excuse to rejoice in their age-old discriminatory ideals.

It in these times of crisis that we need to stand together. We cannot compare centuries of exploitation to the precautionary measures for a diseases! Neither can we let the prejudices against a certain community come in our way of fighting the disease.

While the virus doesn’t discriminate, people do! And how much a person suffers, sadly depends on their social standing.

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About the Author

Nishtha Pandey

I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life. Being a student of mass communication with literature and political read more...

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