Naaz Joshi, The Trans- Woman Inspiring Change In The Community
Naaz has been working with HIV and AIDS women and kids to spread awareness in rural areas and now aims to work for transgenders’ equality rights
Naaz Joshi has created history winning the Miss World Diversity 2019 beauty pageant consecutively for the third time, the first trans-woman to do so and shares her heart-wrenching story in a freewheeling chat at The Circle.Work, a co-working space promoting inclusivity.
Early life and struggles
Born into a middle-class family in 1984, Naaz Joshi had to face prejudice from the family early in the life who abandoned her being different to others and sent to Mumbai under peer pressure at the age of seven to live with her uncle and cousins.
With a large family and financially strained, she had to take up the job of cleaning utensils at a nearby Dhaba while managing education simultaneously.
It went on until the age of 11 when she was raped by her cousin brother. Naaz says, “I did not know what rape was, and one trans- woman staying in the next bed, offered me to join their group. I was told that no this society is not yours. I really wanted to study and took up a job at the dance bar to pursue my studies.”
Education and career
With a great interest in fashion, Naaz studied fashion technology from NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) Delhi and later completed MBA in marketing, however, did not find a suitable job with a safe working environment anywhere and then had to take up a job in a massage parlor in Delhi.
Naaz Joshi underwent the Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) in 2013 and took up modeling as a career. The big break came from Tehelka magazine who shot for the cover and it became the news of the town.
Naaz then started organizing beauty pageants for trans woman, and it was in 2017 that she represented the country for the competition and won it, following which her parents also called up.
Naaz has been working with HIV and AIDS women and kids to spread awareness in rural areas and now aims to work for transgenders’ equality rights.
Things have changed after the abolition of section 377, however, Naaz adds, “When you want to have an inclusive work environment for LGBTQ community, you also have to educate the people to be more accepting towards them, cooperate with them without any bias.”
The Lok Sabha has passed the Transgender Rights Bill 2019 which says that discrimination towards the transgenders will cause a jail of six months to two years now. No parent can throw them out on the basis of gender. Nobody can call out things on them, and nobody can deny them a job basis of their gender. The government is becoming more sensitive towards these issues and things are certainly changing but every change takes time.
Diversity and Inclusion in workplaces
Miss World Diversity also adds that organisations should come up with some kind of retribution in some form of incentive or affect growth in the organization.
Naaz Joshi points out expectations from the employers, who says workplaces need to be more inclusive, and employers need to hire people who deserve employment matching the qualifications.
Along with that, employers need to list out retributions for employees harassing the people from the LGBTQ community and pay extra attention to the community to keep them jovial since they undergo a lot of mental trauma.