Sabi, born as M K Giri, a transsexual naval sailor will be discharged from her duty as the Navy recommended to the defence ministry that she be removed from her post under the Service No Longer Required (SNLR) provision, reported The Times of India.
Sabi felt that she was a “woman trapped in a man’s body”. This is the first-ever such case confronted by the Indian Navy when Sabi returned to her INS Eksila base in Visakhapatnam after quietly undergoing a Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) late last year.
The Navy said that the sailor had violated its terms and conditions, under which she had joined the force as an “Indian male citizen” seven years ago.
The Indian armed forces have been inducting women in small numbers as officers since the early 1990s but women are not recruited as sailors, soldiers and airmen.
As reported by Galaxy Magazine, Sabi had initially contacted doctors within the Navy at Visakhapatnam but she was refused help. In 2016, she consulted a private psychiatrist and psychologist who diagnosed her with Gender Identity Disorder and that same year in October she underwent SRS.
She was kept in the psychiatric ward of the Navy for 6 months after developing a urinary infection post SRS. Later, they planned to discharge her on medical grounds pointing that she was suffering from depression or some mental illness, she told Galaxy Magazine.
Subsequently, she was referred to the Command Hospital, Kolkata, from where she was discharged on 12 April 2017 and the doctors have given no adverse comments about her mental health. She resumed service as a woman after the diagnose.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has intimated to the Ministry of Defence to take action in her regard.
Navy soldiers who have worked with the sailor say there is awkwardness while working with Sabi as she had served with them shoulder to shoulder in the force, reported India Today.
“The sailor had joined the Naval mechanical engineering wing seven years ago, got married and even has a child. The sailor, once discharged, will not get any pension because it is mandatory to serve for at least 15 years to become eligible for it,” a source said to The Times of India.
The Logical Indian community, while applauding Sabi’s courage to embrace her true self and her determination to continue her work, is disheartened at our country’s view of transgenders and women in the armed forces. Though the government expresses that it is working to “increase the participation of women officers and expand their roles”, the same is not seen in action. It takes immense willpower for a transgender or a transsexual person to come out, owing to the society’s myopic viewpoint, and not accepting them further sidelines and discriminates the community.