“We are hijra (third gender), we don’t have the right to get a vaccination for this?” Hijra Munni Akhtar asked this question with anger and sadness. Although they are known as third-gender people in our country, they feel comfortable addressing themselves as Hijras (Transe gender). Today is the first episode of Farhana Nila’s series of reports about some third genders deprived of Covid vaccine.
“When I went to give the vaccine, I stood in the male line first. Everyone was pushing and falling on the body. Then their supervisor told me, you go to the women’s line. Again I gave serials in the girls’ line. Then the women did not want to stand with me. Many of them through bad comments to me. They said, does the transgender need the vaccine? You don’t have….. What will you do with the vaccine? ”’
One third-gender person Munni Akter was telling this speech. After a pause, she said again, ” Then I went to a policeman for help.” I said, where do I get the vaccine? help me, please. In reply, the police said, “You can do a lot. Go dance in front of everyone, clap your hands, and get vaccinated.!” Then I left in anger. And the vaccine was not taken.
Many third-gender people like Munni are still deprived of covid vaccines. But their words do not come up in the table file. There is no accurate information about them in the vaccine list of Bangladesh statistics.
In this regard, Hijra Shobha Sarkar said, “The government just said that we all got the Covid vaccine. But in fact, many of our transgender committee still cannot take the vaccine.
Visit the Bangladesh Covid Vaccine Dashboard: ( http://184.108.40.206/webportal/pages/covid19-vaccination-update.php ) although there is a symbol of the third gender in the data on the completion of the covid vaccine dose according to gender, it is seen (0%).
While the first dose data shows male and female data, there is no third-gender data.
Again, in the place of the second dose, the information of male and female as well as the third gender is given. Of note, only 608 transgender people received the second dose of the vaccine. Whereas, according to the data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the number of third gender population is currently 12 thousand 629 people.
But again there is no data for this population at the third and fourth doses.
Md. Moshiur Rahman, senior project manager of Bandhu Social Welfare Society, said, “Actually, there is no accurate information or data about how many people of the third gender have been covered by the vaccine. Our organization has some information. But that is incomplete. The government should produce this figure. Then it will be understood that how many people of the third gender have not taken the vaccine yet.
According to the data provided by Bandhu Social Welfare Society, the reasons why all the third gender population is still not covered by the vaccine are:
# Most third genders do not have National identity cards.
# Those who have identity cards cannot be matched with their faces and names.
# Those who are going to vaccinate, have to be humiliated.
# Vaccine providers also don’t want to push their vaccines.
# Many of them did not get vaccinated out of fear.
Hijra Shobha said, ‘‘if we had a separate service center for giving vaccines, it would have been better for us. Then maybe we would be a little less harassed.”
In this regard, Md. Moshiur Rahman of Bandhu Social Welfare Society said, “When the first covid pandemic hit the country, transgender people faced complications related to birth certificates and NID cards. Then we present the matter to the official table. Then the government gave the opportunity to them that they can take vaccines without a national identity card. But even while taking the vaccine, the transgender group has to suffer various social harassment. It is a lack of social perspective. But still, I would say, most of this population has been covered by the vaccine. And those who are not covered by the vaccine did not take the vaccine out of fear.
A section of the transgender population has not yet taken the vaccine out of fear. What are those fears! We will know about this in the second part of this story.
Farhana Nila working as a Senior Reporter at News Now Bangla. Recently she won the “Internews Let’s Talk Vaccine Asia Fellowship”. The story is published under the project of this fellowship.