As part of our COVID-19 Trans Resilience Campaign, APTN will be highlighting some of our COVID-19 Community Support Fund partners who have stepped up to provide vital support to the community during the pandemic. Read below about our first organisation and how they are navigating the challenges of the COVID pandemic to continue the important work they do.
Name of Organisation:
Blue Diamond Society- BDS
Where we work:
Who we support:
Lesbian, Gay, Transgender men and women, Bisexual, Intersex and PLHIV
What We Do.
As a community-based organization, the Blue Diamond Society aims to educate and assist with the sexual health, human rights, and the well-being of gender and sexual minorities in Nepal.
Why We Do It
While the Constitution includes rights for LGBTIQ, there is a lack of implementation of these laws which fail to secure rights such as citizenship and other fundamental rights of LGBTIQ community including access to health care and employment. Organizations like BDS play a vital role to mainstream and address these issues for the LGBTIQ community in Nepal.
The three most pressing issues facing Trans people during COVID-19 in your community…
- Mental Health and Stress
- Difficulty in accessing relief material distributed by the government because of citizenship and identity document issues
- Lack of access to hormones and other medical kits for trans people who are on hormone therapy
What we did with our grant from the Community Support Fund
We provided the costs of food for one month for 90 trans-women in financial need during the COVID-19 pandemic. We targeted those living outside of Kathmandu valley, because there are less support services there. Those that received the financial aid were very poor, primarily older people (around the age of 40), those that are HIV positive, sex workers, who lose their job, etc.
Photo Description: Community Members Receiving Food Rations
What were some of our challenges?
For those trans people that are visible, they faced issues accessing government supported social protection schemes including COVID relief items. This was because support was provided based on citizenship identity documents where many trans people’s appearance doesn’t match their ID or they don’t have an ID. BDS was able to advocate to some government offices to ensure the inclusion of trans people in accessing some relief support however many still missed out.
For many trans people who required ongoing gender-affirming care from health providers, their health care was interrupted due to lockdown and movement restrictions. Hospital access was only allowed for emergencies. For many trans people they were less worried about getting COVID, and more afraid of interruptions to their gender affirming health care.
Trans people, especially trans men, have been forced back into unaccepting family homes, due to financial instability. This has contributed to a deterioration of their mental health. There are already cases of suicides, but for some cases, especially for trans men, it cannot be confirmed if it was truly a suicide or family violence. Due to lockdown many were unable to escape their situation or report to the police.
Photo Description: Community Leader supporting Nepal police
What we are hopeful for…
During this period unity and networking within the community was built as well as trust towards the organization. We hope for this to continue.
Support and follow us here:
Facebook: Blue Diamond Society