Discrimination At Food Court For Being A Transgender Person: Epicuria Mall (Nehru Place, New Delhi) Turns Transphobic

Mr Yashwinder Singh who works in one of the renowned LGBT NGOs in India shared his bitter experience at Epicuria Food Mall on Facebook.
He wrote that he and his friend cum colleague Sowmya Gupta, who was a Transwoman, went to Epicuria Food Mall at Nehru Place, New Delhi around 13:15-13:20 pm. The place was frequently visited by Mr Singh and his other community friends, but this was his 2nd visit with his transgender friend who was his office colleague as well. At the entrance the security staff, singled them out and asked to stand aside. “The security check is very basic procedure and as law abiding citizens we should always follow it”, said Mr. Singh. “We were wondering, as we didn’t carry any handbag with us, however when we inquired ‘whats the matter!’, the guards kept skipping the matter, after 5-10 minutes another security guard came, who seemed a senior security person, and was probably called by one of the guards on walkie talkie. He looked at us, more at my transgender friend very foul-fully way, (while other guards were making usual gestures as when anyone sees a Hijra person) and asked ‘आप को कहा जाना है?’ (What brings you here?) “
Soumya Gupta (Photo from her Facebook profile)
When they replied that they wanted to go inside to have lunch, with hesitation he allowed them, but he intentionally followed them upto the payment counter, and kept observing them when they were having their lunch.

Meanwhile they decided to take up the matter with the management. They both reached to the guard and asked him, what was the reason for his strange behavior and why they were hesitant to allow them to enter the mall? He mentioned that some people (he mentioned about hijra / transgender persons) visited this place earlier and there were some issues…. and mumbled, in nutshell he did not have a clear answer!

Mr Singh told him that they wanted to meet a senior person in security team to report against such misbehaviour. He asked them to wait. Mr Rajesh, the Security Manager, came to meet them after some time and when he (Mr Singh) told him about the incident, he apologized but he repeated the same story, what the guard mentioned earlier. Singh and Gupta told them that misbehavior might come from anyone, be it heterosexual, homosexual, transgender, poor, rich, Indian or foreigner, but that didn’t make the security persond compelled to start doing racial profiling of people on the basis of their appearance (especially if they appear different from gender binary). Singh & Sowmya firmly condemned their act of Transphobia and discrimination.

Mr Rajesh realized the matter and assured them his assistance in future and told them to contact him directly if any day they’d face discrimination again in the mall. But they flagged larger concern as it was not only about one Sowmya or one Singh, but the LGBT community as a whole, especially the Transgender or hijra individuals where their rights, dignity, as an Indian citizen required to be protected.  Singh and Sowmya told them about the NALSA judgement where the Hon’ble Supreme Court and how it recognized the rights of the transgender persons in India.

It is a matter of happiness that at the end they both were successful to fight the discrimination. They put the entire incident down in the visitor’s books of Epicuria Mall, along with the signature of the Security Manager.

Source: Tweet India


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