Transforming India



India is changing. Fast.

Last year we reported the burgeoning BDSM networks throughout the country. This week it’s something I never thought I would see.

A Trans Gender Police Officer.

That’s right! The southern state of Tamil Nadu has appointed the country’s first trans gender police officer.

25 year-old K Prithika Yashini was born male but underwent gender reassignment a few years ago. Devastatingly, when Prithika applied to join the police as a sub-inspector, her application was rejected. The Police authorities would not recognize transgender as a category.

Determined to be recognized by the establishment, Prithika then underwent another challenge: to have the decision of the Police Recruitment Board overturned. Several court cases followed until the High Court of Madras found in her favour.

Prithika finally got through, and in an interview with India’s NDTV network said “I’m excited. It’s a new beginning for the entire transgender community.”

Sadly, most transgender people end up living on the fringes of society, often in poverty, ostracised because of their gender. Most make a living by singing and dancing or by begging and prostitution.

The ruling by two judges in Chennai’s high court said: “The social impact of such recruitment cannot be lost sight of, as it would give strength to the case of transgenders. Yashini must reach the finish line, and not be stopped and disqualified in the middle.”

Last year saw India’s first Transgender TV news anchor, also in Tamil Nadu. After a difficult childhood which included abuse, beatings and rejection by her family, Padmini Prakash is now the main news anchor on the Tamil-language Lotus TV based in the city of Coimbatore. She appears every evening at 19:00 to present a news show.

India’s supreme court finally recognised transgender people as a third gender last April, five years after the electoral commission included the category in ballot forms.

With an estimated two million transgender people in India the ruling meant there had to be drastic changes in both attitude and action. The government now has to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities.

Sadly, most transgender people end up living on the fringes of society, often in poverty, ostracised because of their gender. Most make a living by singing and dancing or by begging and prostitution.

I’m delighted for both Prithika and Padmini but as I was researching this something struck me: I’m not aware that we have transgender people occupying equivalent roles in Britain. I might be wrong, but if I’m not, Why?

Saskia Zenn

 
About the Author… Saskia Zenn has worked for the last fifteen years in Marketing and PR. Over the course of her career, Saskia has managed all forms of Public Relations and Marketing campaigns for several high-profile and international organisations, and it is this flair and creativity which she brings to the new Tickleberry website.

“Becoming a co-owner of Tickleberry is a fantastic opportunity for me to bring together my personal and professional passions to create a really meaningful resource website for the BDSM community.”

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