Monrovia – The outbreak of the novel Corona Virus is severely affecting the transgender community, according to Madame Karishma Richards-Kwofie, executive director of Trans Network of Liberia (TNOL.)
Words: Gboko Stewart
“Trans people don’t have the means to work and earn money and earn a living,” said Richards-Kwofie. Speaking to journalRAGE, Madam Kwofie said her organization has been carrying out awareness to educate the trans population about COVID-19 and they discovered that the outbreak is having a debilitating effect on their livelihood. “We have trans sex workers who can’t do trans work. We have hairdressers and other business people who can’t operate because of the lockdown and it is greatly affecting them.”
She furthered, highlighted, that the crisis has rendered the trans community vulnerable to attacks. “Religious groups are inciting people, saying God is punishing Liberia because of homosexuality,” she added. Madame Kwofie mentioned that the Liberian trans community needs help them to escape from the vulnerability of the outbreak. “We want to be able to provide short term accommodations, especially to the trans sex workers so they can have a roof over their heads and food to eat.”
She said the awareness being done by TNOL on COVID-19 has reached 120 individuals, thanks to support from the local office of the American Jewish World Service. “We want to reach out to law enforcement to sensitize them because we know that people will take advantage of the community. The police have limited awareness of trans people. When we sensitize the police, they will sensitize the community.”
According to Madam Kwofie, some communities are targeting trans people. “In Soul Clinic, a young trans woman was placed out of her home by her parents.” She said the organization wants to do more but its hands are tied. “We have very limited funding since COVID-19 and we really wish we could do more during this period.”
“Our community needs good access to healthcare and we need safe homes as well because based on the experience from Ebola in 2014, people are going to be targeting us think that their god is punishing the world with Corona because of us.”
She furthered that TNOL has been soliciting donations and would be grateful for any help they can get. “We are appealing to everyone out there to please help our community. If you want to help with food or money, you can call us o send to us through mobile money or Western Union and Money Gram.”
The organization has set up a GoFundMe account to help raise funds.
This article was first published by JournalRAGE.