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India: Recognizing LGBTQ+ community

India: Recognizing LGBTQ+ community

Ms. Sangita Reddy, Vice President of FICCI and Joint Managing Director of the Apollo Hospitals Group, said in New Delhi, India, today that corporate India will stand up and recognize the meritocracy of the LGBTQ+ community within the overarching ambit of inclusiveness and equality.

Speaking at the first National Dialogue: “Queering the Pitch – Agents of Change,” organized by The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Ms. Reddy said: “Corporate India is ready. We stand for inclusiveness.” She, however, cautioned that this change movement should be handled with sensitivity and positively so that it is kept on the right direction.

Mythology Guru and Author, Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik, expounded on relevance of love and inclusiveness, stating that Indian culture and tradition enjoin equality amongst all sexes – male, female and transgender and more – in the face of socially constructed norms associated with their birth sex.

Mr. Pattanaik said, “Where there is fear, there is exclusion; when people don’t accept inclusiveness, they fail to experience the divine”, and added, “To realize God, you have to love.” He said that businesses are all about giving back to society and therefore one cannot separate industry from society and society from nature.

The dialogue followed the launch of the Keshav Suri Foundation (KSF) by Dr. Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group and Past President, FICCI.

Dr. Suri said that the time was ripe to accept, embrace and empower the LGBTQ+ community. The landscape for the community had changed with the reading down of Section 377 of the IPC by the Supreme Court, she said and added that KSF was a unique platform where relevant people can engage in a meaningful dialogue about the extremely marginalized LGBTQ community. “We need to break the stereotyped image of the community, accept them socially and mainstream them professionally and economically,” she emphasized.

KSF has become the official affiliate of ‘It Gets Better India’, a global platform to uplift, empower and connect the LGBTQ+ community through storytelling and community building. With over 60 million views online, this campaign has been one of the most successful social campaigns in modern history. The ‘It Gets Better India’ campaign has seen personalities such as Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert & organizations such as Google, Apple and various others participate in spreading positive messages that encourage queer youth to live their truth, with pride and dignity.

Mr. Keshav Suri, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said, “The Foundation aims to equip our people with skills to enable them to lead meaningful lives. It is time to queer the pitch”. It builds on the success of the ‘It Gets Better campaign’ and will seek to provide employable skills to the community and sensitize organizations on more diverse and inclusive practices.