Trans women forced to quit government jobs as they cannot find safe accommodation

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A group of transgender women have been forced to quit their government jobs because they cannot access safe or affordable housing.

Eight trans women from the Kerala region of India have resigned from their positions with Kochi Metro because they could not find suitable accommodation in the city.

The metro had hired 21 transgender workers as part of a scheme to boost employability in the community.

However, a number of those who were hired have been forced to resign because the region still holds stigma against trans people.

Raga Ranjini, a ticket collector who was hired as part of the scheme, earns Rs 15,000 a month.

She explained: “Right now I am staying in a lodge where the daily rent is Rs 600. If the situation continues like, this my rent will outweigh my returns. How can I sustain like this?”

Tripthi is one trans woman who was offered a position but turned it down before as she preempted the issue she would have finding housing in the city.

“I am staying in a one-room house on the outskirts of the city. Without an accommodation I can’t shuttle every day, so I opted out,” she said.

21 women were hired from 41,000 applicants for the ticket selling and housekeeping jobs.

The Kochi Metro is a government owned railway with a scheme to hire trans women (Photo Kochi Metro / Twitter)
The Kochi Metro is a government owned railway with a scheme to hire trans women (Photo Kochi Metro / Twitter)

A spokesperson for the railway, Reshmi CR, said that they were unable to provide accommodation because they would have to provide it to all of their employees.

“We have 628 members of Kudumbasree working in various wings of the KMRL.

“If we give any special consideration to them, these women will also claim it. It will not be possible for us to provide accommodation to everybody. We are not an employer but a facilitator,” the spokesperson explained.

Despite this they are attempting to seek out a block of housing that they could buy for more vulnerable workers.

Although this is an obvious issue the company has to address, they still feel like they have achieved a lot with the scheme.

“It’s been a success. They are doing great work. We are now getting a lot of queries from other employers about hiring transgender people,” managing director Elias George said.