These Transgender Women Are Saving Lives—And Cars—In India


Hijras, transgender women in India, are no strangers to traffic—as many make a living exchanging blessings for cash from motorists. In the video below, however, their mission is much bigger: To lower fatalities in India’s notoriously dangerous streets, where drivers follow their own rules, and a family of four all hang from a single motorbike. (Currently 231,000 people are killed in crashes every year in the country.)

Enter the Seatbelt Crew, a collective of hijras in Mubai who stopped traffic to remind reckless motorists about the importance of buckling up. “If you’re going to drive like a pilot then you should know some things,” announces one hijra with a megaphone. “Your car doesn’t have an oxygen mask. Under your seat you won’t find a life jacket. But you do have a seatbelt. So why aren’t you wearing it, honey?”

The viral video has racked nearly five million views since May and was created as part of a public-safety campaign by advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Hijras are commonly “perceived as a nuisance, but if you stop and chat with them, they’re very cool,” says creative director, Abhijit Avasthi.

Check out this eye-catching approach to public safety below.