With evolution, comes greater inclusion, but that is the hope of course. Every small act of inclusion, be it for race or religion or belief has been an herculean effort since time immemorial.
For the LGBT community, the last decade has been one of hope and action, though miniscule towards their endeavour of universal recognition, but significant nevertheless.
The endeavour below is to highlight some recent initiatives towards inclusion of the Transvestite community, some having much broader ramifications, and some perhaps a sign of broader societal challenges.
Though this article focuses on the LGBT community, the deeper essence is that ideas and implementations towards any inclusion related initiative, needs to be genuine and much deeper. A gesture or a token act, though thoughtful, is neither impactful or sustainable over the long term.
It's got to be deep...very deep and genuine.
1. United Airlines
'Mx.' is a new gender descriptor offered by United Airlines in addition to male and female.
This small inclusion, is perhaps the most powerful recognition and respect which can be offered towards a broader inclusion of the LGBT community.
United has worked with the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project on employee training initiatives. These initiatives include teaching employees about preferred pronouns and the persistence of gender norms, LGBT competency in the workplace and other steps to make United an inclusive space for both customers and employees.
This is a landmark. It may just appear as a couple of letters, but it clearly sets the path for brands around the world to follow, with ease.
2. Third Eye Cafe - Navi Mumbai
This cafe has 6 transgender employees, one is the manager, one in the kitchen and four are table attendants. There are eateries around the world which have supported the differently abled with good results as well, but the need for much more!
3. Kochi Metro
The Kochi Metro had taken a bold move of hiring transgenders across different roles on their metro network. But the initiative fell apart quite quickly as the new hires found greater challenges with social acceptance withing the larger work and home ecosystems.
Now, the moot question for businesses. What's the business opportunity of inclusion and hence opportunity loss of exclusion of the LGBT community?
It's estimated that spending power of the LGBT community is in excess of USD 3.8 trillion (LGBT Foundation, 2018; LGBT Capital, 2015). In India alone, a World Bank Report estimated India’s loss in GDP due to homophobia and transphobia up to $32 billion, or 1.7% of our GDP.If you'd like to read more and understand Trans Inclusion and the societal / business impacts, you must read this report from Godrej & India Culture Lab.