In India, a private company has come up with a ‘manifesto’ to spur corporations into implementing transgender-friendly policies

(Image Credit- Reuters)
  • Godrej India Culture Lab, part of Godrej Group, is developing a manifesto for Indian companies to address issues affecting transgender people, particularly employment opportunities.
  • Nearly 92% of the transgender population in India aren’t able to participate in any economic activity, according to a National Human Rights Commission Report.
  • While the central and state governments have introduced 249 schemes to address the issues affecting transgenders in India, only Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU GKY) has mentioned transgender people as beneficiaries.
Indian companies have a pressing need to adopt policies that address fair employment opportunities for the LGBTQ community at workplaces, particularly the transgender population.

To address this, Godrej India Culture Lab, part of the Godrej Group has launched ‘A Manifesto for Trans Inclusion in The Indian Workplace’ to help curb the struggle faced by the transgender population in the country. The manifesto sheds light on how Indian corporates can make the working environment more conducive for transgender staff as well as the larger LGBTQ workforce.

The report cited a 2016 World Bank report that found a clear link between marginalisation
and loss in GDP in a study of 39 countries. As of 2016, India saw a loss of up to ₹32 billion, or 1.7% of the country’s GDP ‘only because of homophobia and transphobia.’

To be sure, Many Indian companies have begun taking steps to address the issue. For instance, Tata Steel—which already has a resource group for its transgender and LGBTQ employees—launched initiatives to offer financial support for gender affirmation procedures. Not only this, but it also has single-cubicle gender-neutral washrooms, Economic Times reported earlier.

India currently lacks consolidated large-scale efforts to approach the discrimination faced by transgender people, highlights the manifesto.

While the central and state governments on India have introduced 249 schemes to address the issues of transgenders in India, only Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU GKY), a central government scheme mentions ‘transgenders.’

Additionally, nearly 92% of India’s transgender population find it hard to find any economic opportunity they can participate in. Moreover, less than half of them have access to education, with 62% of the half facing abuse and discrimination, said the manifesto citing National Human Rights Commission Report.

Lack of awareness

Even though the Indian government has put in some effort to protect the transgender community and recently introduced an amended bill, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018, with 27 amendments, it has attracted the ire of the community.

One of the main things the bill gets wrong is the definition of the word ‘transgender’ itself, according to community members.

"The amended bill, which apart from an improved definition of the term transgender, continues to be unacceptable and needs to be redrafted or withdrawn," a group of transgender community members told IANS, adding the version of the Bill criminalises trans people for organised begging, while denying any opportunities in education, employment, healthcare through reservation.

The manifesto also highlighted the importance of awareness and education and the importance of not conflating transgender with intersex.

Specifically, it cites a definition offered by Sampoorna, a group of trans and Intersex Indians as: ‘’Transgender persons are those individuals who are social, legally and medically categorised as being either male or female, but who assert that this is not their self-identity and/or expression. Transgender people may or may not be intersex.”

With IANS inputs

See also:

Here are 10 pictures from Delhi’s first Pride parade since India’s Supreme Court lifted ban on gay sex

Section 377 verdict: What’s next for India?

Section 377 Verdict: India’s top court decriminalises homosexuality in landmark verdict
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