Chennai Metro has hired 13 transpersons, reports The Hindu. Until last week, Vinithra Devi (31), a postgraduate in Economics took home tuitions to make ends meet. Today, she issues tickets to commuters at the New Washermenpet Metro station in Chennai.
Vinithra Devi is one of the 13 transgender persons working for the Chennai Metro for the first time. “We want to make the best of this opportunity after enduring years of suffering. For someone who felt engulfed in darkness, this feels like a ray of hope. We will cling to it and go forward with pride,” she says.
Kochi Metro was the first to take the initiative to hire transpersons in 2017. However, employees started facing problems like lack of gender neutral bathrooms and accommodation. Eventually, half of the 23 originally hired staff quit.
More recently, on October, 2020, NOIDA Metro dedicated its Sector 50 Metro station to the trans community. Renamed “Pride Station”, pillars were painted in pride colors. Six transpersons were hired; four in the ticketing team, and 2 in housekeeping.
Gajakrishnan, 27, who was a state-level cricket player and national-level basketball player, says many attempted to demoralise him. Being jobless, he was exacerbated. “This almost seems surreal. When people look at us and our work, it will encourage and inspire more from our fraternity a great deal,” he says.
Bhavani, V. Kanimozhi and S. Bhargavi say that from facing harassment to discrimination, they have seen it all, and now are looking forward to doing this job because they can interact with people directly.
“After this, we are sure many will look up to us. And we will feel satisfied because we are helping and having a good interaction with the public. We are grateful to Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. and KCIC that hired us,” Ms. Bhavani says.
An engineering graduate, Arun Karthick, 26, says he went through years of struggle doing part-time jobs. “From surviving alone to fighting all odds, I feel accomplished to have landed in this job. I only hope people accept us for what we are and not discriminate against us,” he says.
The original story appeared in The Hindu.