Kochi Metro Rail Ltd on 11 May 2017 announced to employ 23 members from the transgender community. This is the first time in the history of India that a government owned company has formally appointed members of the transgender community. These 23 transgender workers will be a part of the 530 Kudumbasree workers to be employed at 11 stations in Kochi Metro’s Aluva-Palarivattom corridor. The better educated workers will be posted at ticket counters and the rest will be deputed for housekeeping works, customer relations, parking, gardening and to man the coach-depot canteen.
All of the workers including transgenders were appointed after a thorough written test and interview and were imparted with training in soft and technical skills. Kochi Metro is an under-construction metro project which will cater to the needs of Kochi in Kerala on completion. The first phase of the metro project covering a 13.4 km distance from Aluva to Palarivattom is set to become operational soon. A second 5km section of the line from Palarivattom up to Maharaja’s College will be made operational after that. It is the first government company to employ transgenders and also has the largest contingent of women staff members, once it becomes operational.
Transgender community in Indian is one of the most marginalized communities in the country as they don’t fit into the stereotypical categories of gender of men or women. Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, lack of medical facilities and so on. Taking this into consideration, the Union Government in July 2016 approved The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 to protect transgenders from discrimination. The bill calls for social, economic and educational empowerment of the transgenders.