Why is it really hard for a person from the LGBTIQ community to get a job in India?
This was one of the few questions I had in mind before having this discussion with Ms.Nanditha Ravindar, who takes care of Training and Development at PeriFerry. PeriFerry is a social enterprise that aims at providing employment opportunities for the Transgender. It also focuses on LGBTIQ+ sensitisation in workplaces. PeriFerry tries to bridge the gap between a candidate from the LGBTIQ+ community and an employer. They believe that the workplace of the future does not differentiate based on gender.
Let me begin with one of the few answers I got from Ms.Nanditha. “What we do professionally should have nothing to do with our gender identity or sexual orientation. A cisgender person does not find it hard to find employment opportunities. Why then is it hard for Transgenders? What we are looking at is getting these people employment. For people like you and me, it is not hard attending an interview and getting a job. These people have been facing oppression throughout their lives. A person’s sexual orientation is not obvious on the exterior. But it is easy to identify a transgender and that becomes a hindrance. We should start treating them equally. We are not asking companies to hire them merely because they are transgenders. Hire them if you think they are a valuable addition to your company.”
Let’s get things straight. PeriFerry is not an NGO. PeriFerry acts as a consultant and strives to bridge the gap between employers and the LGBTIQ+ community. It is just a week old and is based out in Chennai. Ms. Neelam Jain is the founder and CEO of this endeavour.
PeriFerry recently launched a video campaign which created a buzz on social media. I was curious to know about the story behind the video and I got it.
Before getting to the video, let me share with you a little more about how PeriFerry shaped up. It involved extensive field work. The founder of the organization, an ex-employee of Goldman Sachs got on the streets, issued pamphlets to the people of the community, and did her research for trying to understand the struggles of the LGBTIQ+ Community. She has also been trying to work closely with NGO’s and CBO’s locally and PeriFerry started to grow.
“It would be really surprising for you to know the number of educated people from this community who are without a job. They are as qualified as anyone else competing for the job. When the field work began, many of them were forthcoming. They were not happy about their position in life and wanted to change that” Ms. Nanditha said.
That’s when I had a question. Many of the transgender community run away from their homes when they are kids. They do not have access to education. They drop out.
Is PeriFerry working on getting jobs for them too?
“Right now, we are looking at a mixed crowd. A few are not that qualified. We train such people with personality development, social etiquette and communication skills as well. We are trying to find them suitable opportunities. What follows is sensitisation at the workplace. If our candidate gets placed in a company, we want them to be treated well there” she added.
PeriFerry has got an overwhelming response from the side of employers. Lots of companies have expressed their interest in roping in talented employees for their company and giving them the #OneChance they deserve.
Take a moment. Think. Erase your misconception about the LGBTIQ+ Community. Give them the glance you give to your friends. That’s what they need. There is no medium that can connect them with you.
Yes! We don’t know why we are in need of such a medium in the first place. Give them #OneChance.