- By Sapna Gohil
The Indian southern state of Tamil Nadu is to hire the country’s first transgender police officer after a court cleared all legal hurdles that faced applicant K Prithika Yashini, 25.
K Prithika Yashini, who was born male but underwent gender reassignment surgery, applied to become a police sub-inspector in the southern state.
But the state police board did not recognise a third gender, leading Yashini to pursue a legal case against it.
A court in Chennai (Madras) has now ruled in Yashini’s favour.
“I’m excited,” Yashini was quoted as saying by India’s NDTV network. “It’s a new beginning for the entire transgender community.”
A 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.”
India’s supreme court recognised transgender people as a third gender last April, five years after the electoral commission added the category to ballot forms.
The ruling meant the government had to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities.
There are an estimated two million transgender people in India.
While the Times of India reports that Tamil Nadu police already have three transgender constables on their books, the vast majority of reports in other Indian media say that Yashini will become the first such officer in the country.
Yashini was born Pradeep Kumar and left the parental home before completing a computer studies course and undergoing surgery.
Yashini had expressed a want to be a police officer since being a child.
The court also ruled that the result of a police physical test, which Yashini failed after being a second too slow in a 100 metre sprint, was not valid.