Many transgenders in the city are facing depression in recent times says Sana Suman, a transgender activist.
Many transgenders in the city suffer from depression and get addicted to alcohol. They say discrimination in society lowers their morale. They are the victims of depression, harassment at workplaces and in their personal life too.
“I’m not accepted in my family or society. Sex work was the only way of earning a livelihood, harassment and violence affected me, I went into depression. To reduce stress I started consuming alcohol,” said Amulya, a transgender.
Around three to four people come for counseling every month that are mentally distributed due to lack of acceptance in society, harassment at work and low income, says Uma alias Umesh, founder of Jeeva Organisation. She added that people who come for counseling face gender identity crisis, rejection from family and society leading them to a state of mental illness.
These people complain about the difficulties they face in opening a bank account and getting loans. “The bank had denied my loan to set up a business of my own because of my transgender identity. I went into depression for three months. Now I work at the Ondede organization,” said Priya transgender.
“There are around five thousand transgender people in the city according to the organization’s census and almost a fifth of them suffer from depression. Only ten percent of them seeks counseling. The people who are into sex work and begging suffer the most as they don’t have any security mechanism,” said Sana Suman, a transgender activist.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Health illness, transgender are almost three times more likely to experience from mental health condition mainly depression. Around 31 percent of transgender in India are victims of suicide and 50 percent of them have attempted suicide before turning 20.
“The counseling program involves providing them with financial support to earn a livelihood. It also involves informal talk with them one on one to help them face mental stress,” said Sana Suman, Programme Manager at Ondede. She added, “The Karnataka government came up with a policy in 2017 for the transgender community to have the right to education, livelihood, and dignity. In 2019, a transgender cell was set up to implement the policy but no action of implementation has been taken yet.”