Café owned, run and managed by the transgender community launched in Mumbai

Mumbai: A cafe owned, run and managed by transgender persons was inaugurated in Andheri West, Mumbai, on Friday. ‘The Trans Café’ (TTC) was inaugurated with funding from the Rotary Club of Queen’s Necklace, Rotary Club of Mumbai Inspire and members of the transgender community.

TTC aims to encourage more entrepreneurship in the transgender community and provide a safe space to people from the LGBTQIA+ community. Speaking to HT, transwoman Zainab Patel, director of The Trans Café, said, “I come from a corporate background and I have worked on inclusions in the past but this is the first time I’m working on social entrepreneurship. Our aim is to launch 15 more cafés run and operated by the transgender community across India in the next three years. We want to challenge the entrepreneurship market and create a brand that’s sustainable – and let people know we are here to stay.”

Patel will also operate a cloud kitchen called ‘Annapurna’ through this restaurant. The café, which currently has six staff members, aims to provide more employment opportunities for the transgender community.

Speaking to HT, Avenue Chair, DEI, Rotary Club, Shanta Vallury Gandhi, said, “This café is just the beginning of a lot more employment opportunities that we want to create for transgender people. Our objective is to move transgender persons from begging and sex work to a more respectable and sustainable life. We would like to make them social entrepreneurs, and are generating funds to launch more such impact projects for them.”

The Government of India, in 2019, implemented the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act which prohibits against any discrimination in employment or occupation. However, the transgender community often faces challenges in employment, forcing them to beg or do sex work as their primary source of income.

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognised the gender identity of transpersons and directed the Centre and states to extend reservations to members of the community in education and public appointments. At present, however, this remains unenforced by the central government despite the SC’s directions. Certain states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu do offer reservation to transgender persons.

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