First LGBTI job held in India after gay ban lifted

BENGALURU (Reuters) – An LGBTI job fair, in India, attracted more than 250 people on Intel, Goldman Sachs and Uber.

FILE PHOTO: A participant in a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, in Chennai, India June 24, 2018. REUTERS / P. Ravikumar / Photo File

The event in the southern city of Bengaluru comes after India's Supreme Court overruled a law banning homosexuality in 2018, which the organizers said.

Many Indians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) still face stigma and violence.

But the 2018 ruling has made some people feel more inclusive, said Srini Ramaswamy, co-founder of Bengaluru-based Pride Circle consultancy, which organized the job fair.

"These are not going to give an excuse that it is against the law," Ramaswamy said. "If you're not being inclusive, it's about being homophobic."

Western companies including Goldman Sachs, PayPal, JP Morgan, Lowe's, Deutsche Bank, Accenture and American Express took part in the event, with more than 250 jobs on offer.

A total of 350 candidates had registered for the event which offered roles ranging from experienced positions to entry-level and support-staff, Ramaswamy said.

Software engineer Arun Gnanavignesh said he had felt that he was gay.

"I was really hurt," said Gnanavignesh, 22, who has since resigned from that job.

The turnout at the fair was relatively thin, with many people still stigma, and several of the people Reuters spoke to.

Typically, job fairs in India attracted millions of people to the job market.

The government's national jobs portal is more than 10.2 million active job seekers for some 386,000 vacancies.

Uber, who had a booth and was trying to recruit people at the job, changed his road maps in Bengaluru to rainbow colors on Friday in a show of support.

"Vishpala Reddy, Uber 's regional human resources director, said in an email.

"We also want dignity. Am I not qualified enough to work in an office? Of course I am, "Mala Bai, 27, a law student transgender, who applied for jobs at JP Morgan and Accenture, said.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Euan Rocha and Alexander Smith

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