PRIDE of Tamil Nadu

Neelam Jain is pushing hard for corporate India to accept Transgenders and give them meaningful employment.

“The last census count registers 4.5 million people who identify themselves are transgenders, but the number is at least 10 times that, or even more,” says the soft-spoken Neelam Jain, co-founder at Periferry, a self-sufficient non-profit agency that works with transgenders to educate, train, and place them at corporate organizations in South India. “It’s a Catch 22 situation—if they identify themselves and come out, they will be harassed and brutalized, and if they don’t put their hand up and be counted, they will lose out on everything.”

Right after college, Neelam Jain joined Goldman Sachs as a business analyst, seemingly all set to run the corporate treadmill, when the young graduate—social and curious by nature—chanced upon the various non-work-related events and projects that the company financed or supported. “For someone who comes from a privileged family like I did, there was very minimal awareness about any social impact initiatives, and I was exposed to many such events at Goldman Sachs,” she recalls. One such event included a transgender on a panel discussion, where she recounted her journey in the corporate world. That left a lasting impression on the young Neelam, but she didn’t pay much…

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