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India
29 Jun 2017

Kochi Metro steps in after nine transgender employees quit

Transgender employees of the Kochi Metro

The new Kochi Metro broke many records - including being the first government agency in the country to employ transgenders.

Twenty-three transgenders were on duty on opening day on June 17, which was an uplifting step.

That soon turned to disappointment. Within two weeks, nine of them resigned.

The problem? They couldn't find housing in the city. But now Kochi Metro has stepped in.

In context

Transgender employees of the Kochi Metro
'Had to pay Rs. 600 daily for housing'

Problems

'Had to pay Rs. 600 daily for housing'

Ragaranjini, appointed as a ticket collector, says she had to pay Rs. 600 daily for a lodge after not being able to find any other accommodation; her salary is Rs. 15,000.

Tripthi had to find accommodation in the outskirts after no one seemed willing to rent out their property to her.

Ironically, Kerala was the first state to formulate a transgender policy in 2015.

Kochi Metro steps in with assistance

Now, Kochi Metro has arranged hostels and daily transportation for the transgender women at nominal rates. The nine women have been given till July 5 to decide. If they decide not to rejoin, the vacancies would be filed by other transgenders.

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Prejudices

Housing is just one issue for these women...

There are other problems for these these women too. Many hadn't revealed their identities at home, but photos published without their permission during the inauguration created problems for some.

Despite government initiatives like exclusive schools and parks, social stereotypes remain prevalent, which hamper their development.

Though the Metro provides them a secure job, the money isn't great. They are worried about making ends meet.

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