From Lalita to Lalit, Maharashtra cop resumes duty after sex change operation

Lalita Salve, a police constable from Maharshtra’s Beed district resumed the duties as Lalit Salve  after undergoing a sex change operation.

Salve, born in 1988, had noticed changes in his body about four years ago and underwent medical tests in 2014 which suggested that he had male genes (presence of Y chromosome). Then, in 2016, J.J Hospital in Mumbai suggested a sex-change operation.  Salve underwent surgery on 25 May,2018.  She had a resounding welcome when she arrived in her village.

“The last few years have been very stressful. But when I woke up after the surgery, I could breathe freely,” Salve told BBC. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live or die. It was a horrible time. I had felt suffocated. I struggled to overcome this and now I feel I have won.”

Earlier the police department had refused Salve to go on a month-long leave needed for the surgery. Once the leave was granted, the police department was unsure about his recruitment post surgery.

However, Salve approached the Bombay high court with a petition that stated the refusal to grant him a month-long leave. The plea stated, “Sex reassigning as per her emotional inclination towards straight male, it is her natural right and in the heart of the fundamental right of the constitution to live with dignity instead of being a transgender.”

While initially he did not receive support from his seniors, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Beed police superintendent Sridhar Govindarajan intervened, allowing him to resume his duties as a male constable.

Last year, Tamil Nadu police service recruited its first transgender cop, K. Prithika Yashini. Yashini was born as a male but underwent a sex-change operation. Initially, the state police refused her application to rejoin as a transgender sub-inspector, but changed its decision after the Madras high court intervened.