While our history shows a rich culture of transgenders, India has not been kind to the community. Unfair laws, gruesome sexual violence and discrimination have been the harsh reality that all transgenders in India have had to face. However, with time and mindset’s evolving, the community has been getting some much-needed respect that has been long overdue.
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In an effort to propagate gender justice and promote inclusivity, the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) has officially renamed one of its AquaLine stations (Sector 50) as the ‘Pride Station’ to pay homage to the transgender community. The NMRC have also take a decision to appoint 6 transgender staffs with 4 of them in housekeeping and 2 in ticketing.
A small step in breaking the big barriers of stereotypes
In a first of a kind initiative by a metro Network in Northern India, the NMRC had initially announced on June 19 to convert sector 50 as a ‘She-Man’ station where special facilities and employment for all transgenders would be available. Keeping this in mind, the station was initially supposed to be called ‘Rainbow’ but with inputs from various online communities, NMRC decided to name it ‘Pride station’.
NMRC also stated, “The station has been named 'Pride' as the NMRC feels it instils a sense of pride among the community and this step is bound to be a ray of hope to uplift the members of this community and help in breaking stereotypes about them so that they too can live a dignified life with their head held high."
Ritu Maheshwari, MD of NMRC said that this decision has been aimed at promoting inclusive development of the transgender community and that “ NMRC feels extremely proud to have qualified members of the transgender community as part of its NMRC family”.
This initiative by the NMRC has been inspired by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, passed by the government which aims at protecting the rights of transgender people and working towards their welfare.
A progressive step in fostering a healthy work environment for this community
During this time, NMRC has worked closely with the NGO Nazariya in an effort to understand the concerns of this community effectively. Nazariya has been known to work exclusively with transgenders to empower them to overcome their daily struggles and issues, especially in a professional setting. "Structural changes in terms of change in restroom infrastructure and creation of separate security checks for the trans community are also being considered in the Metro station for transgenders," said Ritu Maheshwari.
Nazariya has also conducted workshops with NMRC staff to generate awareness and sensitise them towards the community by training them to be communicative in a sensible manner and to not treat them any differently.
NMRC has also said that future collaboration with various other NGO’s should be expected as they want to do everything they can to create a healthy work environment for this community and provide them with ample opportunities.
In 2017, the Kochi Metro Rail Service had also taken a similar initiate by employing 23 transgenders.
This has been a much needed positive step for the transgender community as they have been discriminated against and pushed to the sidelines. While this has been a commendable effort to push them towards inclusivity, we need to make sure that this momentum of change continues and translates into further substantial empowerment of this community.