he Delhi High Court had decriminalised homosexuality in 2009 however, the ban was reinstated by the Supreme Court of India in 2013 under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits gay sex deeming it “unnatural”. The LGBTQ community in India suffers oppression and humiliation due to absence of a law that would give them equal rights.
Many of the people belonging to the transgender community are unable to apply to jobs and educational courses of their choice because most of the institutions do not have proper facilities to cater to the needs of marginalised and poor communities.
Perhaps, even sky is not the limit for India’s K.Prithika Yashini who went onto become the country’s first transgender police officer. Yashini’s journey towards her goal was a long trail of struggles but she came out stronger than ever before.
Defeating Social Stigmas
Yashini was born as Pradeep Kumar in Tamil Nadu where she spent a difficult childhood because she wasn’t accepted in her own household. When she hit puberty, she realised she didn’t feel like a boy. Her parents took her to multiple doctors, astrologers and temples who could provide a magical solution to all her problems. But here is the ‘problem.’ Sexual orientation and taboos that are associated with transgenderism continues to be a mental stigma for many Indians even if the World Health Organization declares it to be,’no longer a ‘mental illness’’.
Yashini had to change her hometown to Chennai where she was welcomed with open arms by members of a similar community.
In February 2015, Yashini applied to the position of a sub-inspector police officer in Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board. However, before she could prepare for the test, her application was rejected because she didn’t belong to either of the categories ‘male or female’ on a piece of paper. Yashini persistent to get the job, questioned the decision in High Court of Madras.
Despite Supreme Court’s decision of recognising transgenders as the ‘third gender’ in April 2014, Yashini had to fight for an entire year before the courts ruled in her favour. She aced all the physical tests starting from sprints to high and long jumps. Even after she lost the 100 metre sprint race by a second, the courts were determined to hire her and in November 2015, Yashini became India’s first transgender police officer.