We have seen them on the roads, on traffic signals, on trains, in markets and during festivals, soliciting money, not to extort but instead as an attempt for survival. Though times have changed for many across the country, the condition of transgenders still remain more or less the same.
Kochi Metro Rail might have an answer to the crisis. It recently hired 23 transgenders who will start working behind their ticket counters and in the hospitality department by the end of this month. As a matter of fact, this is the first time that trangenders are being employed at any government supported project anywhere in the country. Kochi Metro Station has taken this welcome step in order to unify people and strengthen cross community relations by giving the transgenders their rightful place in the society.
Even though, people belonging to transgender community have had jobs in the past, most of the times, they had to go back to begging and being sex workers for their survival. The Kochi Metro Rail wanted their metros to be more than means of public transport. They wanted it to be a livelihood improvement project.
This community lives a life shunned away from bigoted noses of a stereotypical society. They can’t exercise their rights and duties, no one respects them, in fact, nobody even talks to them. They are plain ignored. This initiative will ensure that common people will interact with the transgender community on daily basis.
The hijara community has also appreciated this warm gesture and believe that this is would be a blessing for them. They believe that they will find comfort and respect in this new role in their lives. No matter how talented or intelligent these people were, they never secured a proper job. Even if by chance they ever got jobs in big companies or firms, their coworkers would mock them. Lack of proper education, good environment, lack of exposure to good habits and hygiene is one of the major reasons why they never got good jobs. However, owing to the social prejudice, hijaras were not able to attend schools like other kids. These situations reduced their participation in the society.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), the company that owns and runs the Metro in Kochi, is the first Indian company to provide proper jobs to the transgenders. We hope more companies would follow their lead and give these people their rightful place in the society.
PRAJWALA GHATE | TOC
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