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Lesbian in India seeks gender change to marry girlfriend

Lesbian in India seeks gender change to marry girlfriend

An operating theater in Mumbai's St George Hospital (Photo: Facebook)

A lesbian in Mumbai, India has approached the country’s first gender reassignment center to become a man.

The 31-year-old wants to marry her girlfriend, who she has known since they were at school, and start a family together.

Although India last year decriminalized gay sex, there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.

But, India’s first gender-reassignment surgeon Dr Rajat Kapoor, has warned he cannot perform the operation if it is only for love.

‘We need to see if there is a man in the body of a woman’ he said, according to Mid-day.

‘If it is only for love, we don’t perform the operation, as love is a temporary feeling’.

The woman told the news website ‘if I became a man, I could marry my girlfriend and we could have a child in future’.

In September last year, the LGBTI community celebrated the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that Section 377 of the Penal Code was unconstitutional.

The colonial-era law had punished gay sex with up to 10 years in prison.

But, the majority of society has kept conservative, anti-LGBTI attitudes.

Same-sex couples lack any legal recognition.

‘Though Section 377 was scrapped, a lesbian couple still faces issues while adopting a child.’

Gender reassignment in India

Mumbai’s St George hospital installed the country’s first permanent gender reassignment department in August last year.

The hospital, and surgeon Kapoor, received a lot of requests after high-profile gender affirming surgery of police constable Lalit Salve.

Salve fought a 10-year court battle to have surgery to become a man.

A sourthern Indian state last year pledged financial assistance for members of the transgender community seeking sex reassignment surgeries.

The authorities in Kerala, a wealthy state on India’s south-west coast, said local hijras would be able to claim 200,000 rupees ($3000) to help fund surgery.

Observers estimate that India’s transgender population is over two million people.

India’s supreme court gave legal status to a third gender in 2014. India’s transgender community can select a third gender on ID cards and tax forms, to marry and inherit property.

However, India’s transgender community still face widespread social stigma and chronic discrimination. Many still live on the margins of Indian society.

What’s more, activists have slammed a trans rights bill currently in the Upper House of Parliament. They say it further infringes rights rather than protects them.

But, the last few months have seen high visibility for trans individuals.

Last month, India’s first Miss Trans Queen joined one of the country’s largest political parties.

Earlier this year, the same party appointed its first transgender office-bearer.

Trans gurus also made history earlier this year by leading a religious procession.

Violence continues, however. One trans politician running for office in Hyderabad went missing during her election campaign.

Last month, a man decapitated a trans priestess in her temple.