The Indian government has a message for metro riders: respect transgender employees.
The public statement from Kerala state in India aims to curb transgender discrimination and is believed to be the first of its kind from the government in support of India’s marginalized transgender community, according to Mashable.
In 2014, India passed a law granting rights to transgender men and women, known as hijras, recognizing a third gender existed in the country. Still, education and employment opportunities were slow to follow the policy change, according to Human Rights Watch, a legal advocacy organization.
In May, Kerala state became the first in India to put into place a policy for hiring transgender women when it chose to hire 23 transgender women to work in newly constructed metro stations throughout Kochi city, the BBC reported.
The new employees will perform jobs ranging from ticketing to housekeeping and customer care when the metro system begins service on Monday.
But before they started, the government wanted to make sure that the public was aware that transgender women deserve the same respect and dignity regardless of their gender.
To educate the public on the transgender community, the government created a video with their future employees. In the video the women share their hope that metro riders treat them with the same dignity and respect they would of any other employee.
“I also have hopes, ambitions, dreams,” a transgender employee said in the video.
“Can you do me a favor? When you look at me, don’t look twice. I want you to look at me, and just see a person doing a job,” another employee continued.
The video has been viewed over 1.3 million times on Facebook and met with a majority of positive support.
“Great👍 one of my dreams coming true👏🏻👏🏻 Always felt helpless with this issue.... Congratulations to those who implemented this long neglected move,” said Mukta Srinivas via Facebook.
“Well done ..... Great things take time and thanks for everyone who worked behind this kind of change ... Bringing them in front of public employment and giving them a chance to prove their abilities in front of everyone #they are one of us,” Gouri Suresh posted on Facebook.
“Congratulations to Kochi metro on this wonderful initiative. I hope you will pave the way to be followed by other organizations,” Raksha Shetty said.
Metro officials hope for similar reactions this week. They told the BBC in May that they hope this initiative will encourage other agencies to hire transgender employees who face discrimination throughout the country.
CHIME FOR CHANGE is a global campaign founded by Gucci in 2013 to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world. The campaign uses innovative approaches to promote gender equality. Co-founded by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault, CHIME FOR CHANGE works with a coalition of partner organizations, including the Kering Foundation, Facebook, and Hearst Magazines.