You hire us because we are different, and then fire us for the same.
Ramkrishna Sinha's worldview is influenced by the perception that inclusion can never be solely based on legal mandates. Despite section 377 having been scrapped, people's mindsets are a whole different ball game. The LGBTQ community has been and will continue to face discrimination and violence till awareness and sensitization can seep in through each and every layer in society. Ram's insight after being a part of the corporate world for more than a decade has helped him understand the multiple barriers that stood in the way of true inclusivity. It isn't just a matter of hiring and fulfilling a diversity hiring quota. It is a matter of targeting and eradicating microaggressions, creating structural changes so that those from the community hired from special programs feel like they are living up to their true potential. With this intent firmly embedded in his soul, Ram co-founded Pride Circle and has been "obsessed with impact." From fostering inclusion, initiating mentoring programs, hosting job fairs, and facilitating skill development, the organization has thus far successfully ensured safe employment for more than 350 members of the LGBTQ+ community across India. Ram's desire to create a meaningful impact also came through when he told us about Rainbow Bazar, an initiative that empowered small business owners from the community.
We really believe that financial independence does heavily and positively impact social acceptance.
Ram has come a long way from Jamshedpur, a small city in India where the mainstream representation of LGBTQ communities is practically absent. Growing up, he had no references that could explain why he was feeling the way he was. He understood he was different, but as is the story of queer youth in India, he was understandably at a loss. Especially with the added confusion and anxiety of not being able to communicate these emotions with his parents. Ram's experiences have taught him the importance of support and community groups that can help explain to parents what their children are going through. Citing support groups like Sweekar in the present times, he praises their efforts towards creating safe, healthy spaces for queer children to grow up in.
Ram admits that inclusion in India is often elite and inaccessible for many. Not just for terms associated with the LGBTQ spectrum but also, in general, articulating what one feels when all the information is in an exclusionary language. Ram was particularly inspired by the multicultural stories that appeared in The New York Times, where he understood how important it was to highlight intersectionality. Ram's desire to make inclusion more accessible translates into the publishing of #101comingoutstories. It led to him creating a space where even those in India who did not know English would understand themes related to sexuality, gender, mental health, etc. It was a place where coming out stories could be shared in regional languages and reach people beyond metropolitan cities to impact others regardless of religion, age, caste, or gender.
Allyship has true transformative powers.
Ram's end game is for people to be empathetic and kind to others. And that's what he also wants from allies. For him, an ally doesn't need to denote a complicated term but a simple deep-rooted commitment to removing intolerance around them. Ram's empathy and sensitivity to the unique journeys that people go through have taught him the crucial need to be mindful. A group of friends cracking jokes about the community isn't just insensitive and bias perpetuating behavior, but it can hurt closeted folks too. Regular conversations, even between friends, need to become mindful and inherently respectful towards all minorities for there to be true change. He truly hopes the world can be a better place, but it starts with people realizing that their words can have power.