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Made in India Magazine | October 31, 2020

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Indian Rail Network In Plans To Employ Transgender Workers

Indian Rail Network In Plans To Employ Transgender Workers

| On 19, May 2017

Kochi Metro Rail, a train network in India, has become the first company in the country to employ transgender women. This initiative is aimed at tackling prejudice and integrating transgender women into the Indian society.

The rail company hired 23 members of the hijra community as ticket sellers and cleaners to take them out of the streets. The trans and third gender community are usually associated with begging on the train network, but thanks to this unprecedented move, they will now have proper jobs serving passengers in the south Indian city of Kochi.

“We want the metro to be not just a means of transport, but also a livelihood improvement project,” said Rashmi CR of Kochi Metro Rail while describing the project’s goal to integrate the hijra community back into mainstream society. The trans women are also thrilled by the opportunity to get formal employment and have already undergone training in customer care and confidence improvement.

“Kochi Metro is the first company in India to accept us. It is a huge achievement for us,” says Vincy, one of the beneficiaries of the program, who admits that she’s already noted the difference in the manner her co-workers treat her thanks to her new status.

Employment opportunities for trans women are made scarce not only because of prejudice but also as a result of their criminal past. Many have to contend with life as commercial sex workers which often gets them on the wrong side of the law.

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