Thiruvananthapuram

Overcoming societal barriers for a job

Transgenders Vasuki and Mahima at a food takeaway centre in the city.

Transgenders Vasuki and Mahima at a food takeaway centre in the city.  

Transgenders Vasuki and Mahima finally land a job at a food joint

Getting employed is no easy job for transgender persons, even those armed with all the required qualifications. The story was no different for Vasuki and Mahima, who have looked around for a job for an extended period, despite the lack of support from their families.

But getting in touch with transgender groups like Oasis Cultural Society have opened doors for them.

The duo has been for the past few weeks working at Chappathi Casa, a food takeaway centre in the city.

It’s all not rosy for them though.

Some of the customers openly express their displeasure, sometimes asking the owner to replace them, while some just leave without ordering anything on spotting them at the counter.

Health cards

“One of the persons asked me why I have employed them. Another one asked to get a mask or purdah for them, so that people won’t realise that they are transgender persons. Both of them have health cards from the city Corporation and are eligible to do this job,” says Hima, who runs the outlet.

Vasuki, a B.Ed graduate from Kollam, has been trying to get a teaching job for long, but no one was ready to employ her.

“The mannerisms of a woman became evident in me while I was doing my B.Ed course. After I finished it, I used to give tuition for students at my home, since I was not getting a job anywhere else. After I revealed my identity to my family, even they stopped supporting me. Seven months back, I left home with ₹40 in my hand. Thankfully, I met make-up artist Apoorva, a transgender, who adopted me. Later, I got this job here. Now I am proud of openly working under my own identity. I now talk to my mother over phone once in a while. They have slowly started accepting me,” says Vasuki.

Mahima, hailing from Palakkad, too left her home after not getting any support from her family after revealing her identity.

“I became conscious of my identity when I was in eighth standard. I was staying in a boys’ hostel then, and had to face a lot of harassments,” she says.

Vasuki says that quite a lot of people on the street assume transgender persons like her to be sex workers, even approaching them often.

Situation improving

“Most of the members of the community are struggling financially. But, with more of us finding employment as make-up artists and in jobs like ours, the situation is improving,” she says.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:15:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/overcoming-societal-barriers-for-a-job/article28873442.ece

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