TCS has gone on to become the first corporate in Nagpur to unfurl the rainbow flag in their office. The company along with city-based Sarathi Trust conducted a workshop ‘Inclusivity of LGBTQ+ at Workplace’ for the company’s employees to bring about inclusivity and garner acceptance at work places. The workshop was attended by more than 100 employees.
With this workshop, TCS joins the list of other corporate bigwigs such as Godrej, Tata Steel, Infosys, VLCC etc. who are taking steps towards making their company LGBT inclusive.
The event started by a basic yet important session on ‘Gender, sex and sexuality’. The session was taken by Nikunj Joshi – the CEO and Master Trainer at Sarathi Trust. Nikunj, who is also a TEDx speaker, believes that despite being educated and aware, many people do not know the difference between these three terminologies. “It is an unfortunate situation that this topic is not covered in schools and colleges. My aim, whenever I take this session, is to bridge the gap and educate the population groups. When people finally understand the difference, they tend drop their discriminating attitude against the community people. Also, a lot of myths are debunked. It is for that same reason that I make sure that no matter who the audience is, be it students or corporate honchos or even police officers, I still start from the very basic,” Nikunj said. Joshi also spoke on the historic NALSA judgement and Section 377 later.
The founder and chairman of Sarathi Trust, Anand Chandrani, took a session on the main subject area of the workshop viz. ‘Inclusivity of LGBTQ+ at Workplace’. We spoke to Anand, who gleamed with pride on the successful happening of a landmark event like this. Speaking about Sarathi Trusts’ little victory, he said, “I was in contact with TCS through Mridul since the last four years, requesting them to hold this kind of a workshop ever since. It was last week when we finally got a call from the company to come over and take the said workshop. It would not have been possible without Mridul’s relentless efforts to get the senior officials’ nod.”
“My favorite part of the session was where senior officials asked ways to ensure that a workplace is LGBTQ+ inclusive. I told them about the many doable ways which they can implement within no time. Steps such as including a declaration clause to not discriminate the LGBTQ+ community people while appointment employees, creating gender neutral restrooms, etc. are some of the easiest ways of becoming inclusive,” Anand added.
The workshop turned out to be a successful one as the employees not only grasped and got hold of the various topics covered but also asked questions which made the sessions interactive. By the end of the workshop, the motto of getting the conversations started was achieved literally and figuratively.
TCS Nagpur has pledged their allegiance and assured that more such workshops will be conducted in the future as well.
Interestingly, a couple of years ago when a consultation meeting for the UN Global LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business was held in Mumbai, only 15 of the many invited corporates marked their presence but on a condition maintaining anonymity. But in the recent years, many corporate have started coming forward in support of the community and taking the requisite steps to showcase inclusivity.
The uptake by corporate in India has, however, been slow. But with the Section 377 being struck down last year, the activists, the allies and the corporate insiders have taken the drive forward with much gusto.