In India, homosexuality was legalized in 2009. However, in 2013 the Supreme Court of India recriminalized homosexual acts.[i] At the same time transgender individuals have been given new rights and protections.[ii] This is complicated by the fact that sexuality, gender identity and gender expression are not often discussed in Indian society.[iii]
RELOCATION AND TEMPORARY WORK ASSIGNMENTS
Issue: While there are new protections for transgender individuals, there are still major social stigmas against them. In addition, consensual homosexual sex is illegal again in India and can result in up to 10 years in jail.
Our Solution: Reiterate your company’s zero-tolerance for homophobia, transphobia and the unauthorized disclosure of LGBT identification (known or assumed) to anyone. For envisioned transfers to India, exercise extra vigilance and offer alternatives to employees who feel uncomfortable with the posting. Include in everyone’s relocation briefing the legal situation in India.
GLOBAL NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICIES
Issue: LGBT individuals have not benefited from improvements in Indian corporate diversity and inclusion policies.[iv]
Our Solution: Make sure that sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are protected under your Indian equal opportunity policy. Ensure that your employees know that discrimination based upon sexuality, gender identity or expression, is prohibited.[v]
HEALTH AND EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
Issue: LGBT individuals still struggle to gain access to services because of societal prejudices.
Our Solution: Offer the same benefits to all employees in India. Provide partner benefits regardless of gender, marital status or sexuality. Ensure equal access to health care by working with local NGOs, medical groups and LGBT individuals to identify service providers who have track records of working with LGBT patients.[vi]
RESOURCE OF LOCAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS
Issue: While there are new protections for transgender individuals there are still major social stigmas against, and very few legal protections for, LGBT individuals.
Our Solution: We urge you to use private influence with Indian government officials and other opinion leaders to push for comprehensive sexual orientation and gender identity protections, in addition to the re-legalization of homosexual acts.
GLOBAL DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION TRAINING
Issue: Taboos prevent conversations around sexual orientation and gender identity. This causes a lack of knowledge around LGBT issues.[vii]
Our Solution: Hold inclusivity trainings for all of your employees in India, and include and emphasize LGBT issues and ways to address these issues.
CROSS CULTURAL EDUCATION-CULTURAL CONTEXT
Issue: Because of cultural stigmas against discussing sexuality and gender, LGBT issues have not been included in educational curriculum.[viii]
Our Solution: Work with ERGs and allies to hold educational events about LGBT issues and promote LGBT equality
[i] India’s Gay Sex Ban Upheld By Supreme Court. (2014, January 28). Reuters. Retrieved November 23, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/28/india-gay-ban-upheld-_n_4679413.html
[ii] Limaye, Y. (2014, April 15). India court recognizes transgender people as third gender. BBC News India. Retrieved November 28, 2014, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27031180
[iii] Banerji, A., Burns, K., & Vernon, K. Community Business, (2012). Creating inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees in India: A resource guide for employers Community Business.
[iv] Mission for Indian Gay & Lesbian Empowerment, (2012). Retrieved from Mingle website: http://issuu.com/mingle/docs/lgbt_workplace_survey_-_mingle
[v] Banerji, A., Burns, K., & Vernon, K. Community Business, (2012). Creating inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees in India: A resource guide for employers Community Business.