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Being yourself is not a crime, and that is exactly what the Supreme Court Verdict proved a year ago, when homosexuality in India was decriminalised after a long fight. Acceptance did not come easy though, and the everyday struggles of making your surroundings bias-free still continue.
Making workplaces LGBTQ-friendly is one of the goals the community is striving to achieve. Pride Circle has come forward to lend them a helping hand in this mission. Bengaluru is going to witness the first ever job fair for the LGBTQ community organised by them. The ambitious project has been named 'RISE' (Re-imagining Inclusion for Social Equity) that aims to cover 10 cities further with the target of creating 1,000 jobs by 2020.
According to MINGLE's research, titled 'Workplace Climate Survey 2016', 40% of LGBTQ people face harassment that comes in forms of homophobic jokes, discrimination by manager or HR and so on. While a lot of organisations are trying to understand the challenges faced by these employees, a majority of workplaces still need to take deliberate measures towards their inclusion and acceptance.
RISE focuses on bridging the gap between the companies and capable jobseekers, by creating India's first resume database for the community. Srini Ramaswamy, co-founder of Pride Circle explained, "We will be masking the personal details and forwarding the resumes to the companies. Interviews will be scheduled on the day of the event and that is the first time company representatives will get to meet the candidates". Around 50 companies are expected to participate, when the database holds around 80 resumes so far.
NGOs working with the community are playing a pivotal role in connecting the community members with Pride Circle. On being asked why Pride Circle chose Bengaluru for this event, Mr. Ramaswamy said, "We decided to start off in Bengaluru because acceptance is higher in the city, as are opportunities."
Apart from the day-long conference and recruitment procedure, there will be around 20 booths set up by queer-owned businesses to share about the work they are doing.
RISE was first conceptualised upon the historic judgement on Section 377 on 6 September 2018. "Companies came out with logos in support, and there were some good steps where a few from the trans community were hired for front desk and admin jobs. But there was no effort to create a hiring process. We want to create an appetite for hiring members of the community and ensuring a conducive work environment for them," he added.
The progress is slow, but evident. The change in approach was clearly reflected in his words, "You will not be hired despite your skills because you are different". On the contrary, he mentions, "We welcome you for your skill and celebrate the difference."
Join the celebration of change.
The job fair will be held on July 12, at Lalit Ashok, Bengaluru.