It was almost 2pm in one of the outer western suburbs of Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city of more than three million inhabitants. Merry, 50, a transwoman, had just alighted from a bemo, or public transport van, to head home after a day spent busking. Home is a three square metre room she rents for just under US$25 (S$33.6) a month.
This is a marked improvement from the wooden shack she was living in a year ago. At $2 a month to rent, it was a fraction of what she pays now but lacked access to clean water and electricity. Merry was able to upgrade her living situation after an appeal for public donations by Indonesia's food bank, Garda Pangan, to help the city's transgender community through the coronavirus pandemic.
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