It’s been months since the abolishment of Section 377. The penal code was taken down back in September last year. Since then, there has been a multitude of companies joining the wagon that’s crashing through. Big companies have openly given the claim of their acceptance to the LGBTQ+ community.
While we celebrate the big steps that the community has taken, we also look at a better future ahead:
MNC’s, we notice you:
Indian companies, especially multinational corporations (MNCs), have gone from being tacit supporters of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights to openly allying with the cause. This comes almost one year after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality.
MNC’s have taken some of the biggest steps for the LGBTQ+ community. They’ve gone from passive spectators to full-on supporters, openly allying with the cause and helping around with awareness and parades. Multiple companies have given medical insurance for same-sex partners and encouraging their employees to speak openly about their identity, assuring them of a safe environment.
A company that provides strategy and consulting operations, has made a space for their LGBTQ+ employees to share their journeys and even answer many questions that the allies or straight LGBTQ+ supporters may have.
An information technology company has its LGBTQ+ employees put up video blogs on YouTube about their experiences. The company, furthermore, is also hosting a pride walk at its Gurugram campus later this year. The employees of the company, as well as of any other organisation and the LGBTQ+ community, can participate.
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A software company is also hosting a pride march at its campus. These companies have made it so exceptionally comfortable and welcoming for the community that some employees find it more easier to come out at work, rather than with their families and societies.
Sameer, a 27-year-old employee at SAP Labs, said he came round to accepting his identity only after joining the organisation and reading about global leaders who were ‘out’. He considers the company’s LGBT-ally network a much-needed support system and has even written a blog about his experiences on the company website.
Is a French food services company. Sodexo will be hiring at least four transgender employees this month, says Shreya Oberoi, Diversity and Inclusion Head. Sanjeevani Chavan, a 31-year-old transwoman hired by Sodexo, says it tires her, to show up for interviews where the only response is, “Our staff won’t feel comfortable around you”.
Furthermore, they are also running a campaign against homophobia at work.
Is a business and financial software company that has extended group medical policies. The company also reimburses up to 75,000/- for anyone undergoing sex realignment surgery. It is also amongst the fewest companies in India that provide gender-neutral washrooms at its offices.
A real estate group, Godrej has gone to great lengths to create an inclusive culture that accepts their LGBTQ+ colleagues. Parmesh Shahani, Godrej’s Culture Lab Head, says the company will now be providing equal opportunity policies to all their employees. This was done to have no discrimination of any sort, including sexual orientation.
“Our anti-harassment policies are gender neutral. We also have equal benefits to same-sex partners of employees, fully paid three-month adoption leave (which is also gender neutral) and a medical benefits scheme which includes the spouse/domestic partner, parents and/or children of an employee,” says Shahani.
Furthermore, Godrej is also supporting the LGBTQ+ community by sponsoring the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival of 2017. KASHISH is the biggest LGBTQ+ film festival in South Asia.
This is still a relatively small group of organisations that have come all out with their support, going ahead and changing policies and including health insurance to further involve their employees. But there is a long way to go for the LGBTQ+ community to be truly accepted in every single space of work. And we hope it comes soon.