New Delhi, Oct 11 – An Indian naval officer who underwent sex change surgery has been discharged from service.
A navy statement said its “rules and regulations do not permit the sailor’s continued employment” because of “irreversible gender reassignment”.
Sabi, formerly Manish Giri, has said that she will appeal to the military court against her sacking.
It has sparked a debate on transgender rights in India, where it is legally recognised as a third gender.
Sabi joined the Indian navy in 2010. She underwent gender reassignment surgery in late 2016 while on leave.
When she returned to work, she alleged that she was confined to a psychiatric ward for nearly five months.
“It was like being in jail,” she told BBC Hindi’s Sushila Singh.
The Indian navy has not yet responded to the allegations, and has declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.
Sabi said she rejoined the navy in April, and she received a letter discharging her from service on 6 October.
“The individual chose to undergo irreversible gender reassignment on his own accord, whilst on leave wilfully altering his gender status from the one he was recruited for at the time of his induction,” a navy statement on her sacking said.
An Indian Court ruled in 2012 that there was no legal bar to an adult man having a sex change surgery. And in a landmark ruling in 2014, India’s Supreme Court also recognised transgender people as a third gender.
“I am not a criminal, I have done nothing wrong, I have only revealed my true identity,” Sabi said, adding that she would fight for “justice”.
But legal experts say that transgender people in India are in a strange situation: on the one hand, they are legally recognised and protected under the Constitution, but on the other hand they may have been judged to be breaking the law if they have consensual gay sex.
According to a 153-year-old colonial-era law, a same-sex relationship is an “unnatural offence” and punishable by a 10-year jail term. (BBC)