No transgender in the city has got vaccinated so far

BHOPAL: Not a single transgender in the city has gone in for Covid-19 vaccination so far. According to the Government of Indiaís CoWIN portal, since January 16 till date, either the first or both the doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered to 6.15 lakh people in Bhopal. Of them, 3.43 lakh are males and 2.72 lakh are females. The number of persons in the ëOthersí category is zero.

In the state as a whole, of the 88.47 lakh who have got the jabs, 48.26 lakh are males and 40.21 lakh are females. Here too, the figure for the ëOthersí is zero.

Transgender persons in the city say that the poor response of their community to the vaccination programme is due to many reasons. To begin with, there is no transgender or third gender category on the CoWin portal. The portal only talks of ‘Others’.

Even worse, in some forms meant for persons wanting to get vaccinated, there is no third category except male and female. Then, there is a lack of awareness in the community and they have all sorts of misapprehensions about vaccination.

Sanjana Singh Rajput, a transgender and a social activist said that, even though she is educated and a government servant, she has not been able to even register for vaccination so far. “There’s no column for us. What can I do?” she asks.

Sanjana says that the state government has been boasting that Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to issue identity cards for the third gender. “But whatís the use of these ID cards when even Government of India sites donít offer the choice of categorising oneself as a TG?” she asks. Her passport, she says, carries the ‘X’ sign against the column for gender. “What does that mean?” she asks.

According to her, there are around 1,500 TGs in Bhopal. However, of them only 180 are registered. “Such half-hearted efforts wonít work,” she says.

Sanjana says that the government has also not launched any awareness drive among the TGs to persuade them to get vaccinated. “Vaccination is as important for TGs as for any other segment of the population. But weíre being deprived of our identity. Why should I get vaccinated as ëOthersí? What does ‘Others’ mean?” she says.

Similarly, founder of Devi Rani Kinner Samaj, Devi Singh Rana has not got herself vaccinated because of ‘problems’ in getting registered. “Members of our community don’t have ID proof. They have all sorts of misapprehensions about vaccination. The government should have removed them,” she says.

Julie, 34, a transgender, also complains of the identity problem. “My documents say that Iím a transgender. But the form which Iím required to fill in for getting the jab categorises applicants only as males and females. What am I supposed to do?”

Another transgender, Suraiya Nayak, who lives in the Mangalwara locality in the Old City, says that, in her mohalla, largely populated by transgender persons, no one has got the jab. ìI donít know how to go about it. If anyone from my mohalla went for vaccination, Iíd come to know how to get it done and then, maybe, Iíd get myself vaccinated,î she says.

Anjali, a TG, who lives in Mandi Bamora town in Vidisha district, says that she hasnít gone for vaccination because of fear. ìIíve been told that getting oneself vaccinated is a sure way of getting the disease. Also, when you die in a hospital due to Covid, they take out all your organs,î she says.

Make TGs more aware

“There are about 1,500 bisexual and gay persons in the city. According to our information, about 30% of them have got themselves vaccinated. Of course, the government should do something to make the TGs more aware of the need for vaccination.” -Abdul Majid, president, Anmol Samaj Sevi Sansthan, Bhopal

Why divide Indians?

“Why should we divide Indians on the basis of their gender, caste, colour and so forth? We should have a positive attitude. We shouldnít bifurcate Indians. Please donít raise such issues which arenít good for society.” -Dr Santosh Shukla, district immunisation officer, Bhopal