When it comes to transgender rights, Kerala appears to be far ahead of other Indian states. Its 2015 policy on transgender rights has contributed to the visibility of transgender people in the mainstream.
Recently, the Kochi Metro was in news for recruiting 23 members of the transgender community for different roles. Now, adding yet another feather to Kerala’s cap, UST Global — a company in Thiruvananthapuram’s Technopark has hired a transgender woman as an HR employee. She is the first transgender person in the state to get a job in an MNC, reports The Quint.
Zara Sheikha, a 27-year old Kollam native, has been appointed as the Senior Associate, Human Resources, by UST Global.
“All these years I have worked as a man, hiding my gender identity. I was bullied and faced a lot of harassment while working in a firm in Abu Dhabi. I wanted to live as a woman and I am so happy that UST has accepted me as who I am”, she told The Times Of India.
Since the time she came back to India in 2015, she had been looking for a job with only one condition: “accept me as who I am”.She had previously worked in the HR departments of companies in Chennai and Abu Dhabi as well as a Quality Analyst at Chennai’s Sutherland Global Services. With four and half years of experience in the HR field, she was more than qualified for the jobs she was applying to, but the companies were not ready to accept her.
It was the queer community of Thiruvananthapuram that finally came forward to help her.
Prijith, who works with Queerythm, an NGO supporting members of the LGBTQ community, helped her come to terms with her identity. One of Zara’s friends who is from the HR field and works with transgenders, helped her secure the job. After three rounds of a gruelling interview process, she passed her tests with flying colors. She says her 65-member HR team at UST is incredibly supportive.
Zara’s story shows how an encouraging support system can help marginalized communities find a voice. The transgender policy of the Kerala government that includes provisions such as counselling centres, crisis management centres, and self-employment grants, is hence a right step in making the community feel included in the society.