Bengaluru hosted its first LGBTI job fair on July 12, almost a year after India passed the historic judgement that decriminalised homosexuality. This was an initiative by Pride Circle, a platform founded in 2017, to help include more people from the LGBTI community in India in the workforce through engagement with working individuals, as well as representatives from both MNCs and Indian companies across the country. In addition to offering assistance with placements for LGBTI persons, the organisation also used the fair as an opportunity to showcase small businesses run by people from the LGBTI community.
The RISE (Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity) job fair turned out to be a huge success as the event attracted more than 450 candidates, exceeding its 350-person capacity, competing for around 250 jobs at 35 different companies including giants like Uber, Goldman Sachs, Ford and Intel. Pride Circle wants to add more cities to its agenda and host similar fairs in other cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata by 2021.
Although homosexuality is no longer an offence by law anymore, Indian society, including the workplace hasn’t shown a shift in the same direction. Initiatives such as this fair are thus important for the creation of an inclusive society with equal opportunities at all levels. Not only does it offer a safe space for people of the LGBTI community to create job networks but will also offer safe workplaces to otherwise marginalised and discriminated groups like intersex and transgender people. This a big step towards acceptance. How far will initiatives like this go in terms of changing mindsets about the LGBTQ+ community in India and general inclusion of diverse, marginalised groups.