There’s no question that everyone worldwide is struggling and desperate to find normality during these turbulent times. However, the pandemic has affected some communities more than others. That said, little research has been done on marginalized communities and how the pandemic has impacted the lives of thm, specifically the transgender community. So, how is the pandemic affecting the transgender community? Well, we’re going to discuss how the transgender community experiences the pandemic differently than others.

Economic disparities coming to light

The transgender community is struggling economically. With the pandemic, economic disparities are being highlighted, showing deep inequalities. In Asia, with Thailand as an example, we are seeing an even worse situation for trans women AKA ladyboys. Compared to non-LGBT+ individuals, more transgender individuals have had to quit their jobs or take time off work to care for themselves or another after becoming ill with COVID-19. These factors alone can increase stress, especially since the transgender community tends to have lower incomes and less education. Disruptions in employment can create challenges and additional stress.

Increased job loss

In America alone, the transgender community is more likely to be unemployed. This can be due to having a disability, lack of transportation, poor health, or other obstacles. With the pandemic, these obstacles are increased as lockdowns occur. With these economic issues, the ability to provide for oneself becomes an increasing struggle.

Delays in gender-affirming medical care

Many transgender individuals are going through the process of gender-affirming surgery, but with the pandemic, these procedures are delayed, prolonging the hardship these individuals are already going through. While access to hormone therapy and surgeries are accessible, there are complications, such as travel restrictions, quarantines, and post-operative care. In addition, gender-affirming care such as legally changing one’s name can be delayed as its non-essential business.

Limited access to social support networks

There’s no doubt about it; everyone is going through their own mental health issues due to social isolation. However, marginalized communities like the transgender population do not always have the support of family. Thus, they rely on social support networks such as LGBTQ centers, meetup groups, and other organizations. These community support groups aid in the development of identity and reduce stigma and discrimination. With social distancing, trans individuals may be living at home with a family who are not supportive, which negatively affects their mental health.

Increase in anti-transgender violence

Unfortunately, with social isolation from social support networks comes violence. On November 20, 2020, the Transgender Day of Remembrance, 350 transgender people were murdered compared to the previous year’s figures of 331 murdered. While those numbers are alarming, what’s more concerning is a fifth (22%) of the transgender people murdered were killed in their own homes. As this pandemic continues, these numbers are expected to rise, with the Human Rights Campaign citing this as an ‘epidemic of violence.’

While we’re all struggling with the pandemic, minority groups like the transgender community are experiencing extreme pressure and mental health issues. Though the transgender community is resilient, it’s clear they need more support from other communities.