As Pride Month 2020 comes to a close, let’s turn our attention to trans-inclusion at corporate houses in India. All central government departments were recently asked to include ‘transgender’ as a separate category of gender for recruitment in civil services and other posts, according to an order by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
The move is based on the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, notified in December last year. ‘All ministries/departments of the government of India are requested to modify the relevant examination rules providing for inclusion of ‘Transgender’ as a separate category of gender, so as to make the said Rules in conformity with the provisions of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019,’ the Ministry said.
While the transgender community has been a topic of discussion, it still remains to be accepted into the workplace due to the lack of actionable policies and programmes across organisations. Deep-rooted stigma has unfairly marginalised the transgender community. Its members struggle to be included at every level of the society — right from homes to corporate offices. LGBT+ ally companies like Essar Group, Godrej, TCS and Lalit Hotels have trans-inclusive policies which are constantly updated to be more sensitive to the community.
Essar Group has taken baby steps towards transgender sensitisation at the workplace. Back in 2018, it associated itself with Tweet Foundation, a self-help group for transgender welfare. The Group ensures that festivals are celebrated inclusively within the organisation. In-house platforms are provided to showcase the entrepreneurial talent of transgender persons. Through another initiative, called ‘Sattar Minute’, employees proactively participate to support transgender training and development projects.
Sattar Minute is a blend of employee engagement and community outreach. It is a platform inviting employees to contribute towards community outreach either in an individual capacity or in association with the Essar Foundation, the CSR wing of the Essar Group. The organisation has a flagship transgender sensitisation umbrella programme, called the Rainbow Project.
Under this project, its partners with NGOs and SHGs to carry out activities for the welfare of the trans-community. It has partnered with Kineer Services India a self-help group for transgender people, to provide hands-on training on professional housekeeping services and a workshop on interview techniques and resume writing. This was followed by a job fair, where Essar collaborated with other organisations to provide scope of employment to the community members.
The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group stands out for trans-inclusion in the hospitality sector due to its commitment to the UN Business Standards of Conduct. All employees go through sensitization programmes on LGBT issues. Kitty Su, the nightclub, also hosts fashion shows and drag shows featuring those from the transgender community.
The Lalit has drafted a policy for hiring transgender employees. It includes basic processes such as all forms having the option of three genders, gender being a non-mandatory detail to fill, gender-neutral restrooms, and gender-neutral communication. They have also hired transgender employees and placed them in positions of visibility in their establishments.