Category: Distress Relief
What: Princess is the first transgender frontline worker of Rourkela, Odisha
Why: For working as a frontline worker in India’s fight against COVID-19
As COVID hit India in 2020, many people came to the front to offer their services to the people. These are called frontline workers. And in joining the fight, the transgender community didn’t fall behind. Among those who made contributions is Princess, a 31-year-old transgender from Rourkela, Odisha. In fact, she holds the feat of being the first transgender frontline worker of Rourkela and was even appreciated by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. She worked as a data operator at the COVID care centre at the Biju Patnaik University of Technology in the city. She didn’t stop there. As the COVID vaccination started in January 2021, she joined the vaccination department at Panposh Sub Divisional Hospital in the same city. She is now working at the COVID care centre at BPUT in the fertilizer department.
The transgender community faces major discrimination in society. Overcoming that and joining India’s frontline workers to fight against COVID is no small feat. And to celebrate Princess’ effort, Onlymyhealth nominates her for the ‘Healthcare Heroes Awards 2021’. She is nominated in the ‘Distress Relief’ category. This is her story:
Work As A Frontline Worker
As COVID cases rose during the first wave, the then additional district magistrate (ADM) Aboli Naravane decided to rope in transgenders at the BPUT COVID care centre. Princess was among the seven transgenders selected. Hence, she joined the hospital in June 2020 as a data operator, where she was responsible for entering data on admitted and released patients, medicines, etc, on the computer. With time, all the other transgenders left, but Princess persisted and worked at the COVID care centre till March 2021. “I knew that getting a job is not easy,” she told Onlymyhealth.
As India started the mass-vaccination drive against COVID in 2021, Princess joined the vaccination centre at Panposh Sub Divisional Hospital in April 2021. Here too she worked as a data operator and was there till November 2021. As cases rose again, she again joined the COVID care centre in the fertilizer department.
Being transgender attracts a lot of attention and difficulties, something that Princess too faced. When she worked as a data operator at BPUT, “not many people spoke to me,” she told Onlymyhealth. “But I made efforts to talk to them to get data and make them comfortable,” she added. Wearing a PPE kit and mask all the time was another challenge. “I have rashes till today,” she said, acknowledging that although they were assigned an AC room, it was tougher for attendants and sweepers. “They were extremely hardworking,” Princess said.
Her role at the vaccination centre wasn’t easy either. Princess cited office politics as one of the problems that she faced. She also faced taunting by her colleagues regarding her clothes. As COVID cases rose again in November, Princess again joined the COVID care centre.
Working on the frontline in the fight against COVID is no easy task. Working there when you face discrimination based on identity makes it tougher. However, Princess showed the way not just to those in her community but to other people too. And for her perseverance, Onlymyhealth gives a big shoutout to Princess, the first transgender frontline worker of Rourkela. If you too want her efforts to be recognised, then don’t miss out on this opportunity and go vote for her.