As much as our problems seem to be ours and ours alone in this country, other nations are having difficulty navigating the social issues of our modern society. With the backlash from Trump’s ban on transgenders in the military fresh on our minds, India isn’t doing much better than we are. This past Monday, in its first documented case, headlines indicated ‘Indian navy releases transgender sailor from active duty for under-going a sex change operation.’
Manish Kumar Giri, underwent surgery to become a female in 2016 after she was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. Since then she has changed her name to Sabi and states that she has been reassigned to an administrative role within the navy before her contract was ultimately terminated.
Giri intends to petition the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court stating that “I remain the same old person with the same efficiency. How can they discharge me … just because I underwent a sex change surgery? I will move the Supreme Court, if required, to fight for my right.” Giri has also accused her superiors of mistreatment because of her condition telling reporters that “They mentally harassed me and kept me in a psychiatric ward for six months. They tried to prove I am mentally unfit but they failed.”
Prior to all of these events, Giri had sought help from the military doctors but had been turned away. This rebuff from the military turned Giri to civilian doctors for help. In August 2016, while on leave, Giri had the sex-reassignment surgery. It was after this that Giri’s problems began, first the mental ward and then the change of duty.
“I used to work on the ship. After the surgery, I was forced to stay away from the ship and work from the base. It is sad and worrying that I was found unfit to be a sailor just because of sex change” says Giri
The Indian Navy has released a statement in their defense, telling reporters that “The individual chose to undergo irreversible gender re-assignment on his own accord, whilst on leave willfully altering his gender status from the one he was recruited for at the time of his induction.”
While you can take either side and probably make valid points for both, one thing is certain: We’re going to have to find a way to figure this out because the issue is not going away. There is going to have to be some serious talks where people have to set aside emotions and look at facts and make a decision one way or the other. It’s not always going to be pretty, but the privileges we enjoy due to freedom do not come without some of us not always getting our way.