On September 19th, Out & Equal hosted a webinar entitled, “Comprehensive Approach: Transgender Inclusive Workplaces in India” as part of our bimonthly global webinar series. The presenting panel featured Anubhuti Banerjee, a transgender employee and LGBT+ Employee Resource Group leader at Tata Steel; Shubha Chacko, the Executive Director of Indian LGBTQ rights organization Solidarity Foundation; and Joy Dettorre, the Global Diversity Leader for IBM. The webinar focused on transgender inclusion in the Indian workplace, and utilized the speakers’ unique perspectives to provide a holistic view of the steps taken by individuals, NGOs, and corporations towards building inclusive workplaces. At the end of the webinar, Anubhuti, Shubha, and Joy answered questions sent in by our audience members. Due to time constraints, they were unable to answer a few. The answers to these additional questions are published below. If you are interested in discussing these responses further with the panelists, please email Out & Equal’s Global Initiatives team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are some other global companies that are leading in trans inclusion in India? And what are examples of innovative things that they are doing? For example, targeted recruitment, offering transition benefits, etc.
Shubha Chacko: RBS has put together a policy to support transition at the workplace. ANZ had a special drive to recruit people from the trans community. ThoughtWorks, a pioneer in these efforts, worked to upskill their trans employee. Organizations such as ThoughtWorks and ANZ have also sought out help to hold many sessions to sensitize employee and increase engagement of their personnel. In some companies they worked with the vendors so the vendors will be open to hiring trans people. Some of them made efforts to upskill those who joined them or even carve out a special place for people from the community.
Since gender identity and caste issues intersect deeply in India, how are companies breaking that barrier when it comes to hiring and providing equal opportunities to trans people?
Joy Dettorre: At IBM, we have an LGBT+ diversity recruiting team focused exclusively on recruiting LGBT+ diverse candidates. We also launched a #ReferWithPride campaign designed to expand our search for LGBT+ talent.
Will the 20 people who were placed in organizations (with Solidarity Foundation’s support) be celebrated in public, becoming some of the much-needed trans role models in India?
SC: Yes. We are planning to shoot short video testimonials of some of the members of the trans community and share these within the community and outside. We are also facilitating the possibility of forming a network among those who have been placed in the formal sector. We can see some difference already. Earlier we had a hard time convincing members of the transgender community to become part of the project; it easier now as those who are already placed speak to other community members.
Since trans people are protected in India, are organizations there measuring this demographic in HR metrics?
JD: At IBM, we do offer a solution called Voluntary Self Identification. It is available in 41 countries where we do business, based on local laws and privacy standards. In our Voluntary Self ID initiative, we do provide individuals the opportunity to share sexual orientation and gender identity.