kusuma and tanvi story
Shutterstock/Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

I don’t have that pressure anymore!

My new work place allowed me to bring my whole self to work from the very beginning. And it is all thanks to Rise, India’s first LGBTI job fair that I landed on my new job, where I could be myself, fully and freely! Kusuma shares her story with Love Matters India.

Kusuma,33, lives in Bangalore and works in the IT industry. 

Gulkand and roses!

It was Valentine’s week and my girlfriend Tanvi was showering me with roses and presents and that too sending them to my office address! Every day I would walk towards my cubicle and would see a gift on my table – perfectly wrapped with hearts and kisses! Woh kya kya days hote hain – Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Propose Day – you name it and she sent me presents on all the days, throughout the week. 

You know what was the best part? Not only did I look forward to her presents every day but my colleagues in the office too were equally eager! They would huddle around me as I was about to open my present and saw the Gulkand ka bottle on Rose Day. Everyone has a laugh! 

I had no pressure to hide my presents in the office during Valentine's week just because of the fact that they were not sent by a boyfriend but a girlfriend. I was not worried if my friends would judge me because I had a girlfriend! Everyone around me treated me and my relationship with Tanvi normally – just as it should be. 

This office was just the perfect place to work for me. You must be wondering – aren’t all workplaces same? Wasn’t it the same in my previous organisations? 

It just wasn’t the same 

No, the sensitization towards relationships wasn’t the same in my previous organisation. And even though things were ok on the job front, I never really felt settled there. I was not actively searching for a job opportunity when I happened to have a chance meeting with Ram, the co-founder of Pride Circle and RISE.  He told me about a job fair, a job fair specifically for LGBTQ+ people. 

I had not attended such an event before. But Ram nudged me a little to think about it. 

As if my stars were aligned, by the time the event happened I began searching for a job. 

Rainbows and good luck! 

I remember the day very vividly. As I entered the road which led me to the venue, there was a huge advert hoarding with rainbow colors on it – welcoming and wishing the candidates good luck. How cool was that! I must say it was surreal to see such a huge scale of an event for the first time in Bangalore. There was some or the other opportunity at RISE for every member of LGBTQ+ family that day. 

I got shortlisted by four companies and eventually got three job offers. None of them undermined my experience, qualification or merit. I was judged in accordance with my profile and the requirement and not on the basis of my sexual orientation.

The pressure was off

Eventually, I chose to go ahead with one organisation, which ranks second among India’s ‘Great places to work’. I joined them as a Program Manager and it is this place that I was describing, where everyone makes me feel comfortable and even excited to check out what my girlfriend has planned for me!. 

Since my very first day at this organization I have not been apprehensive about my sexual orientation. I did not have to test the waters before I could come out to my teammates or my manager. The people who would matter to me at my workplace were in the interview panel & they already knew who I was and it was such a liberation. The pressure was off. 

The organization is well-trained on diversity and inclusion. Hence, it has been very easy for me to bring my whole self to work from the very beginning. I started being sooner than often. I would like to thank both my organization and Pride Circle for all the wonderful work they are doing to spread Inclusivity and create safe thriving space for LGBT+ community. 

The person in the picture is a model. 

Pride Circle is coming to Delhi with the second chapter of RISE. RISE is India's first and largest job fair for the LGBT community, in which people can come without any entry fee. If you are from the LGBT community or know someone who belongs to this community, then tell them about the job fair!

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