An organisation in Bangalore leads the way in building an inclusive working space for its transgender employees.
People around the world are working hard to create a more gender-diverse society and breaking out of heteronormative boundaries that continue to stigmatise many communities. Our Community Correspondent Christy Raj talks to Nayana Udupi about her journey as a trans woman working in a multinational organisation.
Nayana moved to Bangalore some years ago where she faced the prospect of going back into sex work like many women in her community do. “Our community struggles with only two options for employment, either sex work or begging. I was scared about the risks involved with sex work… I was not keen on doing this in the area I lived in,” says Nayana.
Christy, who himself is a trans man, further explains that people from the trans* community tend to be ghettoised to certain areas in the city. He says that few get opportunities to overcome the stigma that society puts on them.
Nayana decided to start taking computer classes and ended up working at ThoughtWorks as a marketing associate. ThoughtWorks’ website says that its mission is “to better humanity through software and help drive the creation of a socially and economically just world”. While many organisations in India, including Kochi Metro, have gone out of their way to hire people from the trans* community, they have struggled to create inclusive spaces for their employees.
Nayana feels that her co-workers go out of their way to create a safe space for her.
“We worked with our external vendors to include transgender people into the mediclaim programme… We had a couple of external folks come in to sensitise ThoughtWorkers. This happened [with everyone] from the security to the housekeeping staff, to the entire organisation,” says Tina Vinod who is the Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Thoughtworks.
As we gear up to #PressForProgress this International Women’s Day, stories like Nayana’s inspire us all.
Video by Community Correspondent Christy Raj
Article by the VV editorial team