The Indian state of Tamil Nadu has appointed the nation’s first transgender woman to the police force.
Prithika Yashini is among 21 sub-inspectors to receive orders from Salem police commissioner, Sumit Charan, to join the region’s local service.
Having always dreamed of being a police officer, Ms Yashini told reporters her plan was to work hard and get into the national force.
She also hoped that she could lead the way for more trans people to be like her.
“It is because of no support from family and the society’s attitude towards them that transgender people end up begging or becoming prostitutes,” she added.
Initially, her application had been turned down because the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board did not recognise transgender people.
After a long legal battle, the Madras High Court ordered the board to recognise the 25-year-old as a third gender and process her application.
However, recruiters continued to refuse applications on a number of grounds – including the fact that her name didn’t tally with her original birth certificates – until the Madras High Court reexamined the case and ordered the board to appoint Ms Yashini a sub inspector, calling her “a role model”.
She added that she expects a tough road ahead and said, “I’m ready to fight any kind of problems that I come across in the department or while performing my duties.”
India’s Supreme Court restored a ban on gay sex in 2013, reinstating previous British colonial rules that dated back to 1860s.
It was recently reported that the body will relook at the case and consider decriminalising it again.