COVID-19 Trans Resilience Campaign: Week 1 – HIV – Stories From The Streets – Yayasan

Published March 12, 2021
Language English

The trans community has always been and will continue to be resilient. Throughout the COVID-19 Trans Resilience Campaign, APTN will be sharing the stories of Hope, Pain, and Survival of trans communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our first story comes from  Yayasan Srikandi Sejati Foundation in Indonesia

Yayasan Srikandi Sejati Foundation, Indonesia 

Name of Storyteller: Icha

My name is Icha and I’m 28 years old and live in West Jakarta, Indonesia. I’m transwoman and stay with other trans women in a rented room in a slum area. I was diagnosed with HIV when I was 27. My education is not enough to get a formal job so I work as a beggar, singing and playing music on the street. 

Since March 2020, I did not have any work. Local Government in Jakarta published policies about social distancing on a large scale in the Province. The impact of this policy is that all informal workers do not have the opportunity to work on the street. I lost my job and livelihood that could support my basic needs every day.

There have been some cases of violence that have occurred to other transwomen. My senior, her name is Mira, she was a victim of social violence in North Jakarta.  I am afraid that I will not have money to support my life in the next three months. My supply of basic food is becoming limited so I have to work. I am worried that I have no income, no savings, I am afraid of being infected with COVID 19 and afraid that I will experience violence if I work on the street. 

The identity card for trans women is most important. We are a group that the family rejects and we were removed from the family card which is the basis for the national identity card and to get service. Three years ago, I was sick, so the outreach worker brought me to the health service for HIV testing and ARV treatment. I found out I was HIV positive. As HIV positive, YSS helped me to get support from the Pukesmas [Government Hospital] even though I don’t have an identity card.  But after that I was ashamed to meet the outreach worker and avoided YSS because my status was positive even though they accepted me. But when COVID happened, the SSF staff came to me and supported me again.