The Kerala Metro Rail Limited has hired 23 transgender persons for its Kochi Metro project, Hindustan Times reported on Saturday. The candidates were selected through a test followed by an interview. They will be assigned duties in various departments including housekeeping, ticket vending, customer relations, parking, gardening and the coach-depot canteen at Muttom.

“We would like to give members of the transgender community their rightful share in different jobs at stations,” Kerala Metro Rail Limited managing director Elias George told The Hindu, which first reported the story. “There will be no discrimination between them and women workers.”

Once the plan is implemented, the Kochi Metro will become the first government agency in the state to offer employment opportunities to the maginalised community. “I hope other firms in Kerala give them a respectable opportunity to work,” George said. “Society’s mindset towards them will change only by direct interaction with them. Moreover, members of that community cannot at all be blamed since they are born with such a biological situation.”

More transgender persons will be hired and trained in the future, an unidentified official of the Kochi Metro told the The Hindu. The metro train service began its final trials on May 10. Commercial operations are expected to commence in June.

On April 28, Kerala hosted the country’s first-ever athletics meet for transgender persons. At least 132 members of the community participated in the event.