Transgender Indian naval officer fired for getting gender reassignment surgery
A transgender naval officer has been fired after going through gender reassignment surgery.
Sabi Giri, who has been an officer in the navy since 2010, was explicitly let go for this reason alone, the navy told the BBC in a statement which repeatedly misgendered the officer.
Sabi said she would appeal to the military court against her sacking.
“I am not a criminal, I have done nothing wrong, I have only revealed my true identity,” she said.
Sabi, a marine engineer, added that she would continue to fight – for “justice”.
The navy said: “The individual chose to undergo irreversible gender reassignment on his own accord.”
The statement added that Sabi was guilty of “wilfully altering his gender status from the one he was recruited for at the time of his induction.”
After joining the navy in 2010, Sabi went on leave in late 2016 to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
But when she returned to serve in April, she said she was confined to a psychiatric ward for nearly five months.
“It was like being in jail,” she told the BBC.
The Indian navy has not responded to the allegations.
India’s Supreme Court issued a landmark verdict in 2014 which created a new category allowing transgender people to identify themselves as such on official documents.
But trans citizens, as well as other LGBT people, are still banned from serving in the military.
And trans people in the country suffer high levels of discrimination, with nearly half of all trans children being subjected to violence before they turn 18.
They also face social exclusion, discrimination, and lack of access to educational facilities.
Despite this, the country has welcomed its first ever openly transgender police officer, Prithika Yashini, this week, after a protracted legal battle.
Three more transgender police officers are set to start work in Tamil Nadu, marking the first time trans people have been actively encouraged to join the force.
And in August, India held its first ever transgender beauty queen contest, with Kolkata’s Nitasha Biswas triumphing over 15 other competitors.