The Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has decided to induct transgender employees based on their educational qualifications and experience, extending a helping hand to the marginalised section that often faces violence and discrimination.
This is possibly the first time that a major firm has given such a job offer to members of the third gender, more than two years after a landmark Supreme Court judgment gave the community legal rights.
A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting attended by KMRL MD Eliyas George and senior officials. The first phase of the Kochi Metro rail network, a state-centre funded PPP model, will be completed in five months.
“As part of the ongoing project we have initiated a livelihood improvement programme roping in marginalized sections of the society. We will take transgenders on board,” a spokesman of the KMRL said.
Police say 176 transgenders are registered officially in the state but actual numbers may be quite high as many refuse to reveal their identity due to stigma and fear of violence.
Before appointment, the KMRL will ensure that they do not have criminal records and will engage transgender employees in house-keeping, cleaning and crowd-management.
“Shooed away from everywhere this will give us some respectability. Hope many such firms will come up to end our isolation and discrimination,” said Shyama, a transgender person from the port city.
Last week, many members of the third gender were injured in a clash with police. The injured transpersons said they were roughed up without any provocation but police said they were rounded up while engaging in illegal activities.
Last year, Kerala had unveiled a transgender policy aimed at bringing them to the mainstream. But despite such initiatives, social workers say oppression and discrimination against transgender people continues.