International Sex Workers’ Day: This vaccination camp in Gurugram is a hit
From singing to dancing, the Covid vaccination camp, set-up for approximately a fortnight, for sex workers and transgenders at Gurugram has it all. And those turning up here are unable curtail their happiness for being brought into focus alongside the mainstream, and given a provision to get vaccinated for Covid-19. The camp not only diminished apprehensions of many on getting the jab, but also helped in eliminating the difficulties for them to avail a slot. And on International Sex Workers Day, as we speak to the sex workers about this initiative, they say that it is everything that they could have asked for!
“Maine bahut jaga try kiya, par slot book nahi ho paa raha tha,” says Suman Gupta, a sex worker from Gurugram, who turned up at this camp and feels, “It was very important for us to have a set-up like this where we could get ourselves vaccinated. We are the ones who come in contact with people the most. Hum logon ko bahar nikalna hi padta hai, aur hum dusre logo ke sabse zyada sampark mein aate hain. Gurugram ke swasthya vibhag ne humare baare mein socha, hume bahut acha laga. Ye vyavashtha hone ki wajah se hume kahin dur nahin jana pada. Ek local area mein hi suvidha mil gayi. And this benefitted a lot of people who were earlier sceptical to get themselves vaccinated. Now, they are motivating us, too... Jaise yeh Gurugram mein hua hai aise pure desh mein hona chahiye.”
“Har koi transgender ki respect nahi karta. Ek alag nazariye se dekhte hain hume (People don’t respect us; we are looked with a different gaze) says a transgender and a sex worker Naira Tanwar, who too was facing difficulties in getting a slot since a month. “Wahan I felt ki hum log bhi aapke jaise hain. We were either trying vaccination free of cost or with money, but we weren’t getting it anywhere.”
Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer, district administration of Gurugram, says, “ Ek idea tha ki in logon ke liye kuch karna chahiye. They were deprived. Some even booked slots for themselves and still didn’t get the vaccine. Yeh wahan par jaate, ya toh shy the ya wahan par kaise jaye kis tarah se karwaye is soch mein...I thought inhi ki locality mein we should make some arrangement. Taaki inko dur nahi jaana pade. There are around 750 (sex workers and transgenders) in Gurugram. We’ll try to vaccinate them in a span of two weeks.”
“This is the respect we need,” says a trans woman Kiran Sakhi, adding, “This facility was a privilege for us and it made me happy from the bottom of my heart. We even got sanitisers, disposable gloves. And it took hardly two to five minutes for the whole process to complete. There weren’t any long queues or a risk factor for us, as one would expect in centres that have big crowds. We in fact enjoyed the whole experience, and even danced to express our joy!”
Author tweets @Nainaarora8