First job fair for LGBTQ and acid attack survivors in Mumbai
Vividh, the city’s first job fair for the members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community, was organised at Nehru Centre, Worli, on Sunday by 6 Degrees, an LGBTQI growth network. More than 15 companies, including corporates and media firms, were present to hire aspirants.
The job fair was also open other marginalised groups such as acid attack survivors and people with disabilities.
Praful Baweja, co-founder of 6 Degrees, said that even as the Supreme Court had struck down provisions of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised gay sex between two consenting adults in September last year, there were no platforms for LGBTQI community members to find jobs.
“After the verdict, a lot of companies used the rainbow colour to show their support. However, there is still a long way to go from paying lip service to actually putting it [hiring LGBTQI community members] into practice,” said Baweja.
Among the companies present at the job fair were Godrej, Ernst and Young, Dr Reddy’s, IBM and Standard Chartered. The policies of each company to make the workspace inclusive for all communities differed — some offered gender-neutral washrooms, medical benefits for same sex couples and stopping the practice of adding titles before a person’s name.
Rajat Kumar, a transman from Mumbai, was looking for an opening in event management company. He had earlier dropped out from a course at an education institute because of the rigid dress code.
“I am transman, but my official documents since my birth say I am a woman. After my surgery, I want to be accepted as a transman. Earlier, when I had gone for an interview I was rejected when I told the employer that I am a transman,” said Kumar.
Juthika Nagpal, vice-president of business operations at SmartCirqls, an IT company, said their company has been inclusive even before the 377 verdict. “Discrimination stems from the fact that our education system wants everyone to be the same, and that is reflected at work place also,” said Nagpal.