Monday January 27, 2020
Home India Society Needs...

Society Needs to Be Educated and Sensitised to Ensure There is No Discrimination

I was open and accepted by my friends, family and team long before Section 377's repeal

0
//
Society, Educated, Sensitised
It has been a year since Section 377 was repealed. Pixabay

A year after the Supreme Court struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) decriminalizing homosexuality, the LGBTQ community still struggles with social stigma and lack of opportunities, but people have found the courage to speak up and come out of the closet, says Keshav Suri, who was at the forefront of LGBTQ community’s battle for equality.

In an interview with IANSlife, the Executive Director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group shares the changes he has observed in the society in the past one year.

Excerpts:

It has been a year since Section 377 was repealed. As a member of the LGBTQ community, has the Supreme Court decision brought any changes in your life?

Society, Educated, Sensitised
A year after the Supreme Court struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) decriminalizing homosexuality, the LGBTQ community still struggles with social stigma. Pixabay

KS: I was open and accepted by my friends, family and team long before Section 377’s repeal. However, as a community member, the judgement affirms my believe in the Constitution of my country. It means I, and several others from my community, can walk freely in our country without being made to feel like a criminal. It signifies freedom! A lot changed in my life last year. I married my long-term partner, Cyril. Though the wedding happened in Paris, we hosted a reception in Goa. I also performed in drag with my mother. It was a big day in my life, the wedding videos and photographs went viral and there has been no backlash. It is a positive change.

Since then, what changes did you see in the society?

KS: In the last one year, I see a positive change of attitude and acceptance towards the community. Millions of queer people have found the courage to speak up and come out of the closet. There is serious intent with regard to conversations and engagement with the community members. Several content creators have produced content with protagonists from the community. To name a few there’s the movie “Ek Ladki ko Dekha To”, series “Made in Heaven” and short film “Intezaar”. Also the coming out of athlete Dutee Chand is a classic example of growing social acceptance.

I see the corporate India trying to establish a connect with the community, by forming ERG groups, doing sensitivity workshops and creating safe environment. We recently hosted India’s first LGBTQ job fair, which saw a healthy participation from the community and corporates. Affirmative action is the need of the hour. I am glad work in that direction has begun. But there is still a long way to go. The community still battles social stigma, lack of education and equal job opportunities. We are giving 100 per cent scholarships for LGBT individuals at the Lalit Suri Hospitality School to ensure a fair opportunity is given to them. urge more and more corporates, thought leaders to come forward and embrace the change.

Also Read- Americans Addicted to Snacks, Food Experts Paying Closer Attention to What that Might Mean for Health

Your group has always stood for inclusivity. But members of the LGBTQ community usually get little space in organisations. How can these places be made more inclusive?

KS: Start with regular sensitisation workshops. A lot of homophobia gets generated out of lack of knowledge. It is important to address it. I have taken session with teams at all my hotels across the country. We also do sensitisation workshops at The Lalit Suri Hospitality School and have introduced a Drag Queen Story Hour to educate children and make our work an inclusive and safe space for all.

What can be done to create a safe working environment for LGBTQ employees?

KS: It is essential to form Employee Resource Groups (ERG) and ensure the teams are sensitised. The community members should feel safe and wanted. There are issues like locker rooms and toilets that need to be taken care of. Organisations should to be mindful of their needs such as leaves etc, especially in the case of trans community. Make an effort to provide equal opportunities and benefits such as insurance. It is good to have a psychologist on board as a lot of people from the community find it easier to talk to one. We, at The Lalit, have taken the Lalit Equality Pledge that upholds our core value of ‘Respect to Individual’ and ensures equality.

Society, Educated, Sensitised
In an interview with IANSlife, the Executive Director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group shares the changes he has observed in the society in the past one year. Pixabay

Do you think the Indian society is not evolved enough to embrace homosexual people?

KS: Homophobia is a western concept. There are several examples of queer gods and goddesses in our scriptures. I believe we are an extremely tolerant and loving society, as opposed to what people think. We need to be educated, open our minds and rid ourselves of our prejudices. At some level, I feel we all are closeted. We need to open and embrace the change, and our society and its people.

How do you see the path ahead?

Also Read- TikTok Launches New Campiagn Aiming to Curb Suicide Rates in India

KS: The road to equality is a long one. We need representation across industries and functions. We need marriage equality, health insurance, housing, education and adoption rights to begin with. As of now, the community has only been told that they are not criminals. It was said in the judgement, the society needs to be educated and sensitised to ensure there is no discrimination. The community should stand together, support each other and keep the dialogue alive to ensure equality. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s how you can Appear More Competent Through your Clothing

Secret to appear more competent hidden in your clothing

0
Competent clothing
A richer clothing can help you look more competent. Lifetime Stock

People tend to instantly judge others as more competent if they come dressed in “richer” clothing, says a study that warned that such economic cues are hard to ignore.

In nine studies conducted by researchers, people rated the competence of faces wearing different upper-body clothing.

Clothing perceived as “richer” by an observer — whether it was a T-shirt, sweater, or other top — led to higher competence ratings of the person pictured than similar clothes judged as “poorer,” the researchers found.

Given that competence is often associated with social status, the findings, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, suggest that low-income individuals may face hurdles in relation to how others perceive their abilities — simply from looking at their clothing.

“Poverty is a place rife with challenges. Instead of respect for the struggle, people living in poverty face a persistent disregard and disrespect by the rest of society,” said study co-author Eldar Shafir, Professor at Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University in the US.

competent fashion
Competence is often associated with social status and it is reflected through clothing. Lifetime Stock

“We found that such disrespect — clearly unfounded, since in these studies the identical face was seen as less competent when it appeared with poorer clothing — can have its beginnings in the first tenth of a second of an encounter,” Shafir said.

The researchers began with images of 50 faces, each wearing clothes rated as “richer” or “poorer” by an independent group of judges.

Based on those ratings, the researchers selected 18 black and 18 white face-clothing pairs displaying the most prominent rich-poor differences. These were then used across the nine studies.

Participants were then presented with half of the faces wearing “richer” upper-body clothing, and the other half with “poorer” clothing.

The researchers found that across the studies faces were judged as significantly more competent when the clothing was perceived as “richer.”

Also Read- Here’s how People Themselves Become the Source of Misinformation

This judgment was made almost instantaneously and also when more time was provided.

When warned that clothing had nothing to do with competence, or explicitly asked to ignore what the person in the photo was wearing, the biased competency judgments persisted. (IANS)