Three years ago this day, the Supreme Court of India read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era law that had criminalised the LGBTQ+ community for over a century. Although sexual minorities may be protected under the law now, the fight for equality is far from over.
LGBTQ+ Indians still don't have the right to marry, while discrimination in workplaces goes on openly or on the sly. Indeed, how many educated Indians are even aware of the history of the movement that brought in the September 2018 ruling, or the richness of LGBTQ+ lives from the past in the subcontinent?
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Bengaluru-headquartered Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) consultant Pride Circle has been working for the greater representation of LGBTQ+ employees in India's workforce, especially in the corporate sector, for several years. Through a series of job fairs and initiatives like Rainbow Bazaar, a dedicated online marketplace for “queerpreneurs”, it has helped the community find employment and income opportunities.
Alongside practical moves, Pride Circle runs campaigns to grow the public's awareness of the realities of LGBTQ+ lives. Its latest attempt in this area is a quiz, designed in the form of an online game, that tests your knowledge of the nitty-gritty of LGBTQ+ history in India.
“For the third anniversary of the 2018 ruling, we thought we would avoid the usual panel discussions, especially when people are already doing more virtual meetups than ever,” says Srini Ramaswamy, one of the founders of Pride Circle, along with Ramkrishna Sinha. The result is “The 377 Journey”, an interactive online game through which people can test their knowledge of LGBTQ+ history and also become better informed in the process.
Developed in-house by the tech and content teams at Pride Circle, the seven questions cover a gamut of concerns over a sweep of time, from 15th-century subcontinent to contemporary India. The multiple-choice questions have one correct answer in each case, which is conveyed with a brief context. The entire quiz can be completed in a few minutes: www.thepridecircle.com/elearn.
“We are planning to come back with more of such quick myth-busters about gender identities and expressions,” Ramaswamy says. Earlier this year, Pride Circle designed a similar quiz for LGBTQ+ allies, training them how to support the community better. A book of personal essays, also written by allies, edited by Ramaswamy and Sinha, was published shortly after. Pride Circle also has a special sale on in their online marketplace Rainbow Bazaar until Monday to mark the historic date.
In the last three years since the legal reform, companies are becoming more open to hiring to LGBTQ+ employees, according to Pride Circle's experience on the ground. In May, their most recent job fair, conducted virtually, saw 165 job placements, says Ramaswamy, taking the number of overall placements since 2019 to more than 300. “Companies are more proactively reaching out to the LGBTQ+ talent pool now,” he says.
Last year's inaugural India Workplace Equality Index Top Employers report by Pride Circle, based on a survey of 65 companies, highlighted employers like Accenture, Citibank, Godrej, Microsoft, among others, as having successfully “embedded LGBT+ inclusion in their policies, hiring practices and external communication, demonstrating a long-term and in-depth commitment towards LGBT+ inclusion.” This year's report is scheduled to appear in November.