Homeless Mexicans avoiding hunger thanks to transgender group’s support

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, Apr 28 (efe-epa).- Maria, a homeless Mexican woman, receives a plate of food from a group of transgender women, a group that is often forgotten.

“I can’t be at home with the pantry full knowing that my community is hungry,” Kenya Cuevas, an activist and director of the Casa de las Muñecas Tiresias (Tiresias Dollhouse), told EFE.

About 50 homeless people in Mexico City are surviving during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the work of non-governmental organizations like this one comprised of transgender women, who once a week distribute food at the central Revolucion metro station.

“There are a lot of us who need help from people who want to help out of the goodness of their hearts. Right now, things are bad because there are people who come from other places without work and you have to give many people something to eat,” Maria del Carmen Hernandez, who is about 40 and has been on the street for a year, told EFE on Tuesday.

So far, Mexico has confirmed 15,529 coronavirus cases and 1,434 people have died from Covid-19.

Cuevas and her companions come to the metro station to share the food that generous people prepare for them and contribute.

“I, too, was on the street. I used drugs. I was imprisoned for 11 years unjustly and I’ve been living with HIV for 26 years. I can’t stay at home doing nothing … I can’t be waiting for the government to give people something to eat. … I have to be here helping,” Cuevas said.

Tiresias Dollhouse was founded in 2018 after the murder two years before of trans sex worker Paola Buenrostro near the Revolucion metro station.

At that time, the authorities and other HIV-prevention groups began offering health services along with organizing cultural events for transsexual female sex workers, but also for homeless people, drug users and people with other problems.

A few weeks ago, the association began distributing food to vulnerable groups at different spots in the capital where women who engage in prostitution live but also where other people need help and attention from the authorities and civil society.

Cuevas said that she understands the situation of sex workers since she, too, once engaged in that work, but she added that it’s a group that has received a lot of help while others who live on the street, use drugs and so on are relatively invisible.

In the name of the association, she issued a call to health authorities not to ignore this sector of the public that, more than ever, needs to be protected.

Respecting the social distancing guidelines, more than 50 people line up at a small table to receive a plate of pasta with bread prepared by Hector Arteaga.

He has spent weeks collecting donations and preparing the food, and finally he came to the site to distribute it.

“It’s more complicated for them because there is less people traffic, there are fewer people who can help them. Now, I’m going to try to make this permanent, at least once a week,” he told EFE.

Cuevas said that it’s very important for the contributors to come to the site to see how they’re helping and to see how happy the people receiving the help are.

Maria del Carmen said that she feels very grateful that there are “such generous people.”

She, like many of her companions, also said she gives thanks to God that they are getting help, saying that when everything seems lost a solution always appears.

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