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Rise of the queer

Puja Gupta, New Delhi, Oct 09, 2015, DHNS:
Amid all discrimination which the LGBT community faces in the society, there are some who are welcomed in the corporate world. No matter how rest of the country looks at them, their professional lives are as normal as yours and mine. Adapting the policy of diversity and inclusion, many corporate firms have come forward to help them live a successful and dignified life.

For the past one-and-a-half year, Nayana, a transgender, has been working as a marketing executive and graphic designer in an IT firm. However, it took her many years of struggle to get a job of her choice.

“It was not easy for me to make a career in graphic designing. I had to fight for my rights. But after I got placed in this organisation, I realised that they all are not same. My company supports the LGBT community and is very open towards us. They gave me a training course where I learnt the nuances of designing. After that I got my job confirmation,” shares Nayana.

But when it comes to job, the atmosphere at the workplace and behaviour of your colleagues also matters. Nayana believes that her company has managed to provide her a friendly environment, with all supportive and welcoming colleagues.

“I was very much welcomed in the office and never faced any kind of discrimination. All my colleagues and the staff know about me and are nice to me. In fact, it is the best place for anyone to work,” adds Nayana.

Author of Gay Bombay, an entrepreneur and a gay himself, Parmesh Shahani heads Godrej India Culture Lab. He calls his journey a “learning one” that helped him rise in his career and make a mark.

“I learnt a lot of things in this journey of life and they were very much positive. I’ve not been discriminated in any way. In fact, all the people around me celebrate my sexuality. When I go for any talk session, I speak about what it is to be a gay person. And if anyone from the audience happens to be a L, G, B or T, he/she feels welcomed. Some companies have adopted a positive approach towards this minority section and we should celebrate and promote this. And tell others that if they can do it, you can also do it,” says Shahani.

The discrimination also manifests within the family and some members of the community fail to get education or acquire job skills. However, there are some organisations that train these people and make them capable to choose the field they are interested in. *Natasha is one of the persons who learnt the lesson the hard way. The 32-year-old transwoman, who left her home long back, now heads the logistics department of a security firm.

“My family never supported me and so I had to leave my home and search for work. And then someone took me to an organisation that helps people like me. As I come from South India, I was not very good in Hindi. They taught me the language and other skills that are required for dignified jobs. For the past one year I have been working here. It’s good to see that where my family failed to support, my colleagues and employers favour me,” says Natasha.

These examples are few and far between, as a shift in attitude is required to make them a part of our society. So, organisations need to adopt the EDI(equality, diversity and inclusion) policy for complete inclusion. However, Shahani argues that policies only can’t make people come forward. The matter should be of acceptance, as well as, of
their rights.

“It’s a long journey. Inculcating the EDI policy in corporate firm has just begun. But it doesn’t mean that just by introducing a policy the stigma attached to these people will go,” says Shahani.

“Just because you have equality policy and say that we will recruit across doesn’t works. You have to create an environment which is welcoming to all and truly don’t discriminate. One should organise advocacy workshops that can make people sensitive towards them. One should ensure that he is showing equality to all and if anyone else is showing discrimination against anyone, strict action should be taken. It should be as simple as that,” he says.

*name changed.

 

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