Our nation witnessed one of the most uplifting moments when the Kerela government announced that it will hire people from the transgender community for the newly launched Kochi metro. However, people are now in shock after knowing that within a week of the Metro’s launch, eight of the 21 transgender employees have quit.
When the government is trying to give one of the most marginalized community a place in the society then why are they quitting?
The answer to this question is unexpected as well as shocking!
Including people from the transgender community was an attempt to bring them to the mainstream. Unfortunately, this step didn’t help them financially. The employees complained of less income and more expense. Living in the city like Kochi and working on a below average income (Rs 10,000 – Rs. 15,000 per month) wasn’t easy for them.
The biggest problem came when they started searching for houses to rent. Yes, the city has many vacant houses that are up for rent but hardly anyone wants transgenders tenants. This situation forces them to stay in lodges and spend at least Rs 600 per day. The high accommodation cost burned holes in their pockets and they decided to quit.
Sheetal Shyam, a ticketing officer says,
Though there are many vacant houses for rent, the owners refuse to hire it out to us. We’re forced to stay in lodges coughing up over Rs 600 per day. The problem of finding a shelter turned out to be an unexpected issue.
The KMRL authorities have tried to intervene in this matter and help. While they could not provide the transgender employees accommodation, on June 24, they took up the issue with the district collector and the social welfare department in an attempt to arrange affordable lodging facilities.
Also, Kochi’s mayor, Soumini Jain, who claims that she was not aware of any problem, has said that she will take it up with the metro authorities and help find a solution.