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Transgender Woman Sues Air India Over Job Denial for Role of Female Flight Attendant

Transgender Woman Sues Air India Over Job Denial for Role of Female Flight Attendant

The Supreme Court of India will hear the case of a transgender woman who alleges she was turned down for a job as cabin crew at Air India because she was born with male genitals. The case, which was originally filed in 2017, will be heard within three weeks according to local media reports because the matter has been waiting to be dealt with for so long.

The unnamed claimant first applied for a role as cabin crew with Air India in July 2017 and made it through to the group discussion assessment stage. She also completed a personality test but was not shortlisted to progress any further in the application process “even though she fared well in the tests conducted,” the claim states.

Some airlines in India only recruit female cabin crew, while others like Air India hold female-only recruitment events. The claimant applied for a female-only recruitment drive because she had successfully completed gender reassignment surgery.

The claimant made four application attempts but was never hired by Air India as cabin crew despite having worked for the airline as a customer support agent in Chennai. Air India and the Civil Aviation Ministry have dismissed the claim, saying she wasn’t selected because she didn’t score high enough in the required tests to be progressed to the next stage of the recruitment process.

The 31-year-old claimant underwent gender reassignment surgery in Bangkok in 2014 and her gender status was officially published in the state government gazette. She has brought a claim under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 which prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in relation to employment or occupation.

She claims she was not selected because she is legally recognised as transgender while Air India was only willing to hire female candidates.

A 2014 court case determined that individuals have the right to choose their own gender. “The court has given the people of India the right to gender identity. Further, they cannot be discriminated against on the ground of gender,” legal papers filed by the claimant argue.

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