Coronavirus and The Third Gender

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By: Shanawar Jura
Poet, Journalist & Sociologist

Coronavirus has spread all around the world within a few days. This virus has crashed lives, jolted economies, and smashed all communities. In the same context, the transgender community is also facing the apocalypse. Ruefully the community is on the verge of distress due to health, economic and societal hurdles. However, all these issues can be solved in order to save this gender.

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The health of this gender is more vulnerable than the other two genders ( man & woman ) because of some reason. Firstly, there are more chances of illness because of HIV in this community. In this very context WHO( World Health Organization ) has written on its official website that “ transgender women are around 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than other adults of reproductive age with an estimated worldwide HIV prevalence of 19% in some countries, the HIV prevalence rate in transgender women is 80 times that of the general population. “ So it can be said that this gender has a higher risk of HIV than the other two genders. Furthermore, higher chances of such disease can weaken the immune system which increases the chances of coronavirus. The other issue in this regard is that the third gender has 50% higher use of tobacco than the general public. hence it can also increase the chances of the coronavirus.

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The other key issue is the economic issue in the days of the pandemic, especially, for the transgender community. Many people have become jobless in the world. According to The Guardian, about 6.65 million people have filed themselves for the jobless allowance in the last week. Former chief economist at US department of labor Rodger William said that “we are at the mercy of the virus.” In this situation, this community can suffer more than the other two genders( man & woman ). According to US Transgender Survey, 29 % of transgender live in poverty, and one in five transgender people will homeless for the lifetime in the US. This is the situation of the US but in Pakistan, it can aggravate more than any other country.

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The other key issue for the third gender, especially in the days of the pandemic, is a societal issue. Transgender communities can suffer because of societal norms, particularly in Pakistani society. Doctors and medical staff can discriminate this gender and as a result, it can lead to serious illness. However, commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shalwani said that transgender people were a part of society and assured that they would not be left out. He further added, “we are committed to providing them all possible help.”

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All these are the problems that this community can face during the days of pandemic disease coronavirus. However, all these issues can be resolved. Now it is the time, the government should think about this vulnerable community as this community is also an important part of the society.

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