‘Hard work’ got first trans government employee to where she is today in India

Sanjana talking on a landline in an office, she is wearing a red sari

The first trans woman to land a public service job in an Indian state is no stranger to adversity

Sanjana Singh became the first trans government employee in the central state, Madhya Pradesh, after she landed a role as the personal secretary Director of Social Justice and Disabled Person’s Welfare. Madhya Pradesh  is also home to the first elected trans politician. In 1998, people voted Shabnam Bano to the State Legislative Assembly.

Forced to leave home at 15, Singh has spent her life hustling to get where she is today.

‘I just feel my hard work paid off,’ she told the Deccan Chronicle.

Working to help other women and improve her community has been a life ambition for Singh. She was the the first paralegal volunteer of the District Legal Authority.

‘The welfare of society was what I was interested in. I later worked for an NGO for over a year,’ she said.

‘My work has been focused on making society accept the transgender community.’

Singh wants to ensure trans people can get access to education and employment.

‘I want our community to get job reservation,’ she said.

‘The opportunity to people should be given who are willing to work. It should be an option for the community because if everyone has a job, then after a certain point of time, the transgender community will lose its culture of what they do now – performing at weddings and visiting homes of newborns.’

The altruist had some words of advice for parents of LGBTI children. Singh told them to accept their LGBTI children as they are and not to try to change them.

While conditions for trans people slowly improve in India, the marginalized trans community warned they remained at risk.

Author: Shannon Power

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