It started with a Trans-fashion show and a Trans parade in Ramjas College, Delhi University. Taking a step forward, a group of Ramjas College students, have helped the transgender community to open perhaps their first ever beauty parlour for all. Called VIBGYOR, it is being solely run by transgenders in Khanpur, South Delhi.
Vardhan Goyal, second year student, who is also the president of the group, Enactus Ramjas, under which the college students work for the cause, says, “We are working on three projects that cover different groups-- transgenders, victims of drug abuse, and underprivileged women. Some of our initiatives include helping the trans community set up a jewellery business, a parlour business and help them engage them with cab agencies.”
The aim is to bridge the gap between transgenders community and the mainstream society.
“The first step was to identify what to pick for transgenders. The community is driven by beauty, dance and fashion. The fashion show and parade was aimed at building trust. Then, we started training them under professional beauty experts where they were taught the basics and in depth details of makeup, hair colouring, waxing and other stuff,” says Goyal who is pursuing B.Com(hons) from Ramjas.
Explaining the reason behind picking South Delhi as the location, Goyal says, “The major population of transgenders live there and it would be comfortable for staff to work in that area. Also, we can expect more customers.”
The parlour was inaugurated five days back and since then there has been a good turnout. “Two beauticians, one on register and one on account manages the parlour. At least 12 to 15 customers visits us every day to avail our services. We are expecting a turnout of Rs10,000 every month which is a good amount for transgenders to earn,” says Goyal.
The transgenders are equally excited to be a part of the project. They say, it will bring a change in their lives. *Pratham, a beautician in the parlour says, “The project has created a buzz in our community and I believe that this will boost the acceptance of our community in the public. We don’t expect special privileges from the society but equal rights and opportunities. The parlour will be a big step for the same with its true unisex concept.” *Prateek, head beautician shares the same thought. He says, “The group first helped me in setting up a jewellery micro business where I earned Rs 7,500 per month and now after being given the opportunity of running this parlour, my income has jumped immensely. Sex work and beggary have become the norm in our trans community and various respectable jobs being provided by the group has really helped me come out of my comfort zone. I hope these projects scale up very soon to help other community members like me.”
The group is connected to various NGOs that works for trans communities. To ensure their safety, CCTV cameras are installed in the parlour. A security guard is also deployed at the entrance. “We don’t want to take any risk and therefore, we have installed four-five CCTV cameras in the premises. One of our group members is also present there to avoid any situation of clash. We have also limit down the working hours and days initially and if things goes well, we will plan accordingly,” informs Goyal.
*Names changed on request