Third eye café: The café with a transgender staff

Navi Mumbai: We as a society have tremendously progressed in a past few years. But there are still a few people who choose to carry prejudice towards certain communities. And shattering those prejudices is Navi Mumbai’s Third Eye Café, which hires transgender employees because they believe in equal rights.
Started by Nimesh Shetty, Nitesh Kandarkar and Prasad Shetty, the restaurant has not only helped the transgender community to stand at their own feet without being forced into sex work and begging but has also given them confidence to walk tall and proud in the society. The owners are very clear with the thought of not selling the restaurant because of the transgender staff, but because of the quality of food and ambience. They look at his venture as a platform for trans community to get better jobs.
Sana Khanna, one of the employees, earlier made her living by odd jobs, like giving badhais at functions, a custom known to bring good luck. After being rejected for jobs, she finally landed a job at this café. It’s not only the job aspect, but Sana’s became more confident and happy.
Sana said “Although we say Indian society is changing, that’s not really the case. We are still looked at differently by people.” Nimesh Shetty, the owner of the restaurant, wants people to change their perception of the community and be more accepting of them.
He said “I am not trying to sell the café to the transgender staff. I want to do it based on food and ambiance. This is just a platform for this community to get better jobs.”
The restaurant currently has six transgender employees out of the total strength of 20. Four work as table attendants, one works in the kitchen and one works as a manager.
According to Gauri Sawant, a transgender activist said “people are usually scared and have fixed notion about the transgender community, which is why it is necessary to change the perception”.
She also said that this restaurant might be the first restaurant in the country with more transgender staff members.

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