Unemployment is the biggest problem Indian youth is facing today and it is getting more serious with time. The current situation is so bad that the common youth is wandering around for job opportunities, can you imagine the struggle of the LGBTQ+ community?
It is already difficult to find a job and those who are employed are dealing with discrimination, bullying and other issues at the workplace, since there is no guarantee of a safe working environment. Ankita Mehra is also one of those members from the LGBTQ+ community who had struggled a lot to find a job and faced discrimination by colleagues at some workplaces that made her survival tough in the corporate industry.
“It’s a myth that finding a job is the major issue, I feel surviving at the workplace is equally difficult and I wonder why nobody talks about that. Members of our community are educated and talented enough to crack the interviews. Many of us are leading in various sectors and setting examples but not everyone is fortunate to find a safe and cooperative working environment,” opined Mehra.
With an aim to create a safe working environment for the LGBTQ+ community, Ankita left her job and joined Equiv- a platform that focuses on hiring women, LGBTQ+, veterans, and persons with disabilities.
Here is the exclusive story of the inception of Q-rious.
The struggle of this job-seeking woman led to the launch of an initiative – Q-rious – in association with Naren Krishna, Founder and CEO of equiv.in and stockroom.io. After working in the gender and diversity space, Naren wanted to create some significant impact for the LGBTQ+ community as well.
Speaking about the Q-rious he said “As a team, we believe actions speak louder than words. So I thought before we go ahead and conceptualize the event it’s very important for us to follow first and have someone from the community as a part of our team leading this initiative and we are fortunate to have found a champ like Ankita who is committed to this as a cause as much as we are.”
The brainchild of Naren and conceptualized by Ankita, Q-rious is a platform that would not only help the LGBTQ+ community in finding new job opportunities but also making efforts towards sensitising workplaces for accepting employees from the community.
The team started with zero. They just had a thought and converting it into a revolution was itself a big challenge. However, the hard work and dedication of Ankita and the team Q-rious made it possible.
Sharing her struggle, Ankita said “Many people are not open yet and they hesitate to apply. So, our team put lots of effort to assure them that we are here to help. Today, when I look back it all seems like a dream. We have struggled a lot and worked restlessly. Initially, no one was taking us and this idea seriously, but Naren and I were confident about it and that’s why we never gave up. It’s been months we have not even slept properly.”
She traveled a lot across the country to meet people and convince them to associate with Q-rious. There were lots of challenges such as getting sponsorship for the event, collaboration with speakers, association with employers and urge members of the community for the registration.
“Q-rious is a platform- of the community, by the community and for the community, and I must say things became favorable when we got the support from the community itself. We can’t thank enough The Humsafar Trust and Keshav Suri Foundation for putting faith in us, and also Mist, Umang, Yadil and Harmless Hugs for backing us up in the crucial time,” expressed Ankita.
Taking this initiative forward, Q-rious is all set to organise north India’s first career fair and confluence for the LGBTQ+ community on November 23, in New Delhi, a day before Delhi Pride 2019.
A day-long event will be held at The Lalit which will witness iconic faces from the LGBTQ+ community as speakers such as Suhail Abbasi, Co-Founder, Bombay Dost and HST, the world’s first openly gay prince and the founder of The Lakshya Trust – Manvendra Singh Gohil along with transgender rights activist Gauri Sawant who is also the Goodwill Ambassador of the Election Commission and Keshav Suri, Founder, Keshav Suri Foundation.
Apart from these, some big names from the entertainment industry will also grace the event with their presence including Peppermint, of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, Mr Gay India 2014 Sushant Divgikar aka Rani-Ko-He-Nur and Pearl Daruwalla, Director Of Operations at Kashish International Queer Film Festival.
Team Q-rious wanted to break the clutter and organise the flagship event in order to bring the much-needed change by sensitising employers towards the community and provide a trustworthy platform to the professional members of the LGBTQ+ community who are willing to work in the various sectors.
Online registration was set up, where one can upload their resume along with other details of their qualifications and work experience. Ankita is personally taking care of all the entries and a dedicated team has been assigned to analyze, monitor and moderate the whole process.
“We are speaking to each and every applicant to gather their details and this process is helping us in understanding the requirement and things need to be taken care of during the event. There is no registration fee or hidden charges so that everybody can be a part of it,” informed Ankita.
To register, click here.
Further, Ankita informed that Q-rious received a very good response from several employers and many companies approached them for an association. But sensitisation is mandatory for all, and hence, only organisations where at least one representative has completed sensitisation training with Q-rious will be entertained.
So far, Q-rious has witnessed over 1000+ registrations from all the country and over 400+ candidates have confirmed to attend. Apart from this, many noted companies will be present at the event in order to provide new employment opportunities to the members of LGBTQ+ community.
Sharing future plans, Naren said, “In the coming few years Equiv would be a key enabler in making India Inc more inclusive and become the go-to platform for diversity platform to hire talent.”
As of now, it seems Q-rious has everything in place – an interesting line-up of motivational speakers, some entertaining performers, and an association with employers and hundreds of candidates. Now it would be interesting to see how this event will change the scenario for the LGBTQ+ community?
“The journey was not easy at all. Either its planning and conceptualizing or execution, it took blood and sweat of the whole team in making it what is it today. We have left no stone unturned and hoping for the best. Those who will come with hopes, if they return with smiling faces, only then Q-rious will be called successful in the real sense,” concluded Ankita.