Some members of the Hijra community in Kerala, an Indian state in the south, will have proper jobs in the metro rail.
Kochi Metro Rail‘s initiative to hire transgender women to serve passengers and sell tickets is a first in Indian history.
According to The Guardian, transgender women only used to beg in Indian’s train network, and though they had been offered jobs in the past, majority end up doing sex work to survive.
As a step towards inclusivity, Kochi Metro Rail will employ 23 members of the Hijra community, enabling the transgender workers to be behind ticket counters and get involved with the housekeeping teams.
In the report, the spokeswoman for Kochi Metro Rail, said: “We want the metro to be not just a means of transport, but also a livelihood improvement project.”
“People don’t interact with trans people. They live separately from society, they are not given jobs, their rights are not respected. We want to bring them into the mainstream by ensuring that people interact with them every day – on their way to work, for example.”
Vincy, one of the transgender women recently employed by Kochi, also added: “Kochi metro is the first company in India to accept us. It is a huge achievement for us.”
“I feel very comfortable there. The other workers know how to respect me because Kochi metro is recognising us.”
The new employees are already undergoing training, which includes classes in confidence improvement. They are set to officially work by the end of May.
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