This valentines day, on February 14, a trans couple from Kerala is all set to tie the knot through a traditional Hindu ceremony in the presence of their family, friends and community members.
Syama S Prabha, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, is a state project officer at the transgender cell under the Kerala Social Justice Department, whereas Manu Karthika, a transman, is employed in human resources at an MNC Technopark. Both aged 31 plan to register their marriage under their transgender identities.
While there have been marriages in the community, the couples registered them under binary identities (male and female) under the Special Marriage Act. However, Prabha and Karthik plan to approach the High Court to get their marriage registered as one between two transgender individuals under the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 and Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2019.
"Transgender couples who obtain their id cards as male and female get their marriages registered under Special Marriage Act. But we got ourselves identified as transgender in our ids, so we're not able to register our marriage under the Act, which is why we'll approach Court," said Karthik as quoted by ANI.
The couple identifies as transgender in the transgender ID card of the Social Justice Department and will become the first to do so and hopes to inspire other persons from the community to stay who they are.
The couple has known each other for over a decade, but their love blossomed recently, as both are elder children in their families and were bound with responsibilities.
In 2017, Karthik approached Prabha for the first time, but during that time, the duo did not had their sex reassignment surgeries, their families were not in favour of their union, and they also did not have a permanent job either.
Karthik recalls their struggle to get acceptance from family and society.
"We could have run away and started new life together somewhere. But we were adamant to start life with the blessings of our parents," said Karthik as quoted by The Hindu.
In the beginning, Karthik was supported by only his mother, who advised him to study and find a decent job so that society won't look down on him. The duo helped their respective families, found steady jobs for themselves, and kept their relationship very low-key until then.