The Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to consider giving transgender people preference in state-run educational institutions and government jobs.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice S V Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne directed a state-appointed committee to consider the case and report back by June 7. When Advocate General Birendra Saraf sought more time, the court remarked, “If there is a hanging sword, then things move faster.”
Vinayak Kashid, a transgender who is a graduate in electrical engineering and a postgraduate in technology (electrical power system engineering), filed a petition seeking modification to the advertisement issued by MahaTransco in May this year for mass recruitment to include the transgender category.
Many transgender people believe that the third category should be present in recruitment drives and workplaces, and that educational institutions should set up awareness campaigns for the community so that people will have acceptance as members of society. We also spoke with some transgender activists to get their take on the Bombay High Court’s proposal to give transgender people reservations in government jobs.
Gauri Sawant, a transgender activist, told Afternoon Voice, “We are struggling for the government jobs, and even if the jobs are available, people in our society do not accept it, and people from our community who are not willing to gain education or work in government offices then there should at least be skill development for them.”
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Alpana Dange, consulting research director of Hamsafar Trust, said, “Many people in our community are still afraid of their professional jobs as they are being bullied; some are told to get into sex work.” There should be various awareness events for these people about which words or slang should not be used in their work environment.
We also asked if people in the transgender community are still afraid of being rejected for these jobs or if they can work safely in those professional jobs. “It will take time to remove fear from the minds of the transgender community so that they can also work with other sets of people,” Dange continued, “but awareness of this community can help them as well as others in the society.” Also, if other people are not accepting them, then they should talk about it to understand the myth and why transgender people have to face different treatment than others.”
“Though there are job openings for the transgender community, many of them are not given opportunities because 80 percent of them are not literate,” model-and-actress Navvya Singh said. “If people are not willing to take jobs or educate our people, then the government should at least come up with skill development courses so that we can survive.”
Many trans people still struggle to be recognized, and if someone applies for a job and identifies as a woman, they should be considered a woman. “People in our community mostly fear rejection if they are not selected for the job, and how would others treat them even if they are working,” Singh continued.
“Even if the reservation is implemented,” says Harish Iyer, an equal rights activist, “many people are still unaware of the trans communities, which makes people from our community feel uncomfortable working in a professional environment, and people are also bullied even when they are applying for interviews, so there should be awareness and sensitization programs set up in the corporate and government sectors.”