- 19 May 2017
Kerala is advanced in a lot of ways, but their acceptance of the third gender wholeheartedly is a definite sign that this is the place to be
Kerala sure is the most loved state in the country, thanks to the latest move by Kochi Metro, where they offered jobs at their new project for, not one, not two, but 23 transgenders, breaking all stereotypical barriers and ensuring a ticket to equality. This move comes in keeping with the government's policy of inclusive development and gender equality.
Sources say that hiring them was not an easy job due to the lack of educational qualification and the fear of addressing their identity in public for the fear of being shunned. “These persons would be out on the streets at night, begging or prostituting,” said Reshmi CR, Head, Corporate Communications, Kochi Metro Rail Limited. Reshmi also added that some of them had police cases against them, which were cleared by the police upon request from KMRL.
“Once the group of 23 was selected, they were trained in soft skills and computer operations,” said Sheetal Shyam, state-level secretary of SMFK. And for every day of training, they were paid a stipend of Rs550. Their training now complete, they are ready to take on their customer-facing jobs when the Kochi Metro launches, likely in the “last week of June”. “We have also built special bathroom facilities for them to protect their identity,” said Reshmi.
Metro officials also add that more transgenders will be provided with job opportunities after they assess and evaluate the performance of the first lot they have hired. KMRL MD Elias George says the Metro is the first government-owned company to officially hire them as employees and he also hopes that the rest the nation follows lead. Kerala sure is leaving some big shoes to fill for the whole country.
Text: Devika V Menon Images: Various Sources