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Air India

Transgender Woman Accuses Air India of Discrimination

Transgender Woman Accuses Air India of Discrimination
Joe Cortez

After transitioning, a transgender Indian engineer sought employment as a flight attendant with Air India. However, she claims that the airline openly discriminated against her and outed her against her will. Now, she is asking the Indian government for an “honorable death,” claiming that the situation has made it difficult for her to find work.

A transgender woman is asking the Indian government for an “honorable death,” accusing Air India of discriminating against her and making it extremely difficult to find work after she was allegedly outed by the carrier. The News Minute reports that Shanavi Ponnusamy has written the Office of the Indian President requesting euthanasia over her supposed treatment by the airline.

Ponnusamy’s story began in 2016, when she first applied for the position. After graduating as an engineer and working for an Air India contractor, she completed her transition and applied for an in-flight cabin position with the airline. According to her story, she met the requirements set by the carrier, including “…body measurements, BMI [and] height.”

In new details released about her case, she claims that the Air India hiring team were rude and condescending to her because of her gender. She applied to the airline four times, only to be continually rejected. After the latest denial, Ponnusamy appealed the case to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which defended her right to be considered by the carrier.

After her meeting with the ministry, she demanded to meet with the chairman and managing director of Air India, but was denied that opportunity. By September 2017, the airline finally gave her a response, claiming that there was no policy in place to hire transgender persons.

With this information, she took her case to India’s Supreme Court, who demanded that the carrier respond by the end of November 2017. Instead, her case has been delayed on four separate occasions, with the next hearing scheduled for May 2018.

Through the process, Ponnusamy says her struggle against the airline has outed her as a transgender woman and made it difficult to find work. In her letter to the Indian President’s office, she now says her job is to “…live a life of dignity and self-respect. But even that seems too far out of my reach now.” Neither Air India nor the President’s Office has commented publicly on the case.

This is not the first time Air India has faced trouble over their employees and policies. In 2017, the carrier grounded over 500 cabin crew members over missed alcohol tests.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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