K Prithika Yashini, who began life as K Pradeep Kumar, has come a long way. Five years after she left home in Salem and came to Chennai to search for her identity, Yashini has been selected for the post of police-sub inspector in Tamil Nadu, a first for the state. Yashini’s journey, helped along by the Madras High Court, can have far-reaching consequences for the third gender in India.
On Thursday, the HC passed an order clearing legal hurdles for Yashini to join the force.
During the legal battle to get the job, first it was the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board (TNUSRB) result that rejected her application, saying her name did not ‘tally’ with the original certificates. When she cleared that through a litigation and was allowed to participate in field trials in August 2015, she was disqualified in her race to become a police officer by 1.1 seconds in a 100-metre race.
Talking to The Indian Express, Yashini said her life was no different from that of other transgenders in the city. “I lived the life of a male till I completed my post-graduate diploma from Bharathiar University. I left home five years ago, as my parents could not support the choice I made,” she said.
Yashini’s father is an auto rickshaw driver and her mother a tailor. She underwent a sex re-assignment surgery, changed her sex formally and holds the identity card of a transgender.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana said they are sure that by the time the next recruitment process starts, TNUSRB would have taken corrective measures to include the third gender as a category. The judges also called for the creation of separate category for transgenders in employment.
The Tamil Nadu police has three transgenders as constables, but Yashini is the first officer. The judges expressed hope that she would dedicate her life to advance the cause of other transgenders.