Still Human

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This exploratory research project aimed to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on transgender and hijra communities in the Netherlands and Bangladesh, respectively. The research focused on four main areas: livelihood, access to healthcare, housing, and incidents of violence in public and private spheres. Employing a questionnaire and checklist devised by the principal investigator, in collaboration with a research assistant and input from two field researchers, interviews were conducted digitally and in real-life settings. These interviews were recorded and professionally transcribed, resulting in the production of a comprehensive research report and an executive summary.

The primary outcomes of this project are the aforementioned research report and executive summary, available for download below. These resources stand as valuable tools for advocacy, shedding light on the challenges faced by the transgender population worldwide. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated their pre-existing experiences of deprivation, violence, and discrimination. A significant portion of the individuals involved in this project were transgender individuals engaged in sex work, struggling to sustain themselves during the pandemic. Additionally, transgender individuals with refugee status, particularly in the Netherlands, faced heightened levels of violence and discrimination during this time.

In Bangladesh, the hijra community, often identified as neither male nor female, encountered severe financial strain due to the interruption of their traditional income sources caused by the COVID-19-related lockdown. The key outcomes detailed above provide insights into the experiences of transgender and hijra communities, serving as evidence of the discrimination faced by gender-diverse individuals. Furthermore, the reports highlight sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues, emphasizing the deep entanglement of SRHR with socio-economic rights. This urges a reconsideration of current programmatic and policy approaches towards both SRHR issues and marginalized populations.

To read a blog post about this project, click here.

Knowledge product details

  • Covid-19 Grants

  • 2020

  • Bangladesh

  • Netherlands

  • COVID-19


  • Marginalized groups

  • Share-Net Bangladesh

  • Share-Net Netherlands

  • English

  • Executive Summary

  • Research Report

KP creators involved

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This report examines the impact of COVID-19 on transgender refugees and sex workers who face heightened risks of economic, housing, safety, and healthcare insecurities in the wake of the pandemic.

Executive summary of research findings.

KP creators involved

Transgender Netwerk Nederland

EN: Transgender Network Netherlands is committed to the human rights of transgender and non-binary people, now and in the future. They want everyone to be able to decide for themselves about their lives, their bodies and their papers. And that everyone is given free rein to develop their talents and is supported in this.

NL: Transgender Netwerk Nederland zet zich in voor de mensenrechten van transgender en non-binaire mensen, nu en in de toekomst. Zij willen dat iedereen zelf kan beslissen over zijn leven, zijn lichaam en zijn papieren. En dat iedereen de vrije hand krijgt om zijn talenten te ontwikkelen en daarin wordt gesteund.

Vrij Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Since its foundation, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has stood for scientific and value-driven education, research and knowledge transfer. VU Amsterdam is a unique university with faculties in the humanities, STEM, social sciences and medical sciences. Their education and research are closely linked. The VU combines their top position in research with a strong social orientation, which has resulted in an excellent international reputation.