A group of transgender people in Hyderabad are now engaged in making and selling ginger garlic paste and pickles amid the COVID-19 pandemic to make a living. The group, which was brought together by the Trans Equality Society, is selling the items under the label 'Quickles'.
Speaking to TNM, Jasmine, the founder of Trans Equality Society said, "We want to work and earn a respectful living like everyone else. But people won't come forward to give jobs. Even if we get jobs, there is stigma at the workplace. So now, we have created our own jobs."
"We have engaged five trans women, we applied for a license, got a certificate from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and started selling to those interested within our known circles. The pickle is totally natural. We do not mix any chemicals. We are trying to make our own living, shouldn't people who always stigmatise us as beggars now buy our products?" Jasmine asks.
The paste and pickles are made in a hygienic way after processing all ingredients, with the help of partial funding from Montfort Social Institute under their 'rainbow initiative'.
Jasmine says that Trans Equality Society was set up with an objective to help not only trans persons, but any allies of the LGBTQ+ movement in distress and to lobby with the government to draft policies and help people on an individual basis.
"When I left home 20 years ago, I lived on the footpath for a while and there was no support system. That's why I wanted to ensure that I could help my own people and set up the society in March 2020. The same month, coronavirus hit us," she said.
"Many people couldn't eat, others couldn't pay rent. With the help of some organisations and some funds gathered, we helped with ration distribution and financial help. With the lockdown, there was no income and we decided to start this business," she added.
The ginger garlic paste costs Rs 100 for 250 grams and the pickles cost Rs 200 for 500 grams. For any enquiries, please contact Jasmine via WhatsApp on 9550767486.