There's been a lot of (much needed) dialogue about Transgender rights of late. It all started with Harry Potter author JK Rowling's transphobic tweets, when she stated that trans women aren't women. While Rowling later further defended her tweets, it was heartwarming to see influential people call out her transphobia, including several stars of the Harry Potter franchise.
On a completely unrelated note, June also happens to be Pride Month, which is celebrated by the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies across the globe. Several brands see this important event for the community as an opportunity to seem woke and promote their company, without actually doing much for them. Guess what, brands? Changing your logo to the rainbow colours isn't doing anything for the LGBTQIA+ community!
However, there are some corporations that are true allies, and make consistent efforts to make a real change in society to promote queer rights. And one of them happens to be...the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC)!
In an effort to promote transgender rights, the NMRC decided to dedicate an entire metro station to the transgender community. “As per Census 2011, there are 4.9 lakh transgenders in India out of which 30,000-35,000 stay in NCR. The move will be an important step in providing meaningful inclusion and participation of the transgender community. The naming of the station will raise awareness and sensitivity,” said Ritu Maheshwari, MD NMRC, in a statement.
Unfortunately, as well-intentioned as they might have been, they did it in the most tone-deaf way possible.
A few days ago, the NMRC announced that it will dedicate an entire station to the transgender community, and it would be renamed...'She Man' station. I don't think I need to elaborate on why 'she man' is an offensive term for the community. Naturally, this did not go down well with members of the transgender community, who termed the name “transphobic” and “insensitive”, demanding that the metro corporation withdraw its decision.
See, this is what happens when you make a decision about a community without actually including them in the process. Repeat after me: Representation. Is. Important.
Fortunately, the NMRC responded well to feedback from the trans community, and quickly acted on it. On June 24, the station authorities announced that the station will instead be renamed 'rainbow station'.
“NMRC has received a number of suggestions from individuals and NGOs regarding a suitable name for the station which would correctly signify and represent the essence of this community. Keeping these suggestions in mind, NMRC has decided to name the station as ‘Rainbow Station’,” said Ritu Maheshwari, Managing Director, NMRC, in a statement. She also added that the metro corporation will also be providing members of the community with employment opportunities.
Kudos to NMRC on accepting their mistakes and swiftly implementing a positive change after feedback from the trans community. We hope this incident serves as an example on how to be a good ally to the LGBTQIA+ community (and on what NOT to do)! Trans rights are human rights, and a government agency making tangible efforts to uplift the community is certainly a step in the right direction.
Brands with rainbow coloured logos, are you listening?