Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Covid Care Diary: Reaching out to the LGBTQ + Community

MSJ, Bangalore: 12th May 2020

Things have been unusual for all of us, especially during this Covid lockdown. However there are many who have been going through a life of hell due to various reasons. It may be because they are Auto Rickshaw drivers, fruits and vegetable push cart vendors, Ola or Ubar cab drivers, domestic helpers, drivers of small or big transport services, helpers, conductors, cleaners, helpers in various business establishments including dentistry, etc. The list goes on. There is also a particular segment of society which is tolerated not much by society even though they come from families like you and me. They are seen with scorn or a menace in society. It might be because of their sexual orientation. They are the least in our society just like widows or orphans. They too are the children of God. In fact, they are also our brothers and sisters.

The people whom I am referring are from LGBTQ+ community. A few years ago, we did not see them in public in the city of Bangalore. However, in recent years their voices are being heard. They have become visible in our market areas, stores, malls, streets, temples, and around us. We see many them from this community particularly at the traffic light junctions of Namma Bengaluru looking for some monetary help, when you are waiting frantically to change into green signal. Certainly, now a days these people are out of our sight. They are also under lockdown.

Quite recently, we had a group of people from the LGBTQ+ community at the entrance gate of our Covid care kit relief procuring and distribution hub at Loyola College Campus, Bengaluru. They had come to our centre looking for some Covid relief from a place called Dasarahalli which is almost 30 kilometers from our campus. The distance itself speaks about their dire need. Somehow they came to know our relief work though some contacts. After a bit of hesitation they entered our gate and felt comfortable to talk to us. Their condition has not been very good in this time of total shutdown. We provided them 25 kits containing a good amount of grocery items and other vegetables. They were fascinated to see such an amount of fresh vegetables. They are very grateful for how we treated them. We also got in touch with people at JD Mara area where there is a similar kind of people who also received our help.

One of our Jesuits Fr James Martin from the US, wrote a bold but challenging book "Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity" in 2017. Speaking about this book, Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego notes "Martin provides us the language, perspective, and sense of urgency to undertake the arduous but monumentally Christlike task of replacing a culture of alienation with a culture of merciful inclusion.”  I believe that unless and until we take up this task of welcoming LGBTQ+ community into our mainstream society, we would not be sitting together with our Divine Master when our mortal bodies vanishes away from the face this earth.

- Reported by Olvin Veigas, SJ

12th May 2020

1 comment:

Unknown said...

How can I express my gratitude and reverence for you Fathers for bringing magical relief to the people who really deserves your help.Your act of kindness is an eye opener to everyone to reflect upon our own service with a new and fresh perspectives.