This is a story about beating incredible odds.
K Prithika Yashini has made history by becoming the first transgender person in India to become sub-inspector in the police force. She has already reported to duty to serve the country in Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu.
Prithika’s journey towards becoming an officer has been informed by her sheer resilience as she had to fight social stigma every step of the way. It was right after completing her undergraduate degree that Prithika, who was born Pradeep, underwent a sex change surgery.
And it was then that she decided to reach for her dreams of becoming a police officer. It nearly did not come true as the first time she applied, she was rejected. The reason being she had filed her as a transgender person and she had been told that there was only a ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ option in the application form. Not one to accept defeat, she went to court to fight for her right and ended up winning the legal battle.
Once she cleared that hurdle, she was still disqualified after the physical test. While she had completed it, she was told that she reportedly failed the final part of the test – a 100 metre dash – by one second. However, an informal inquiry initiated after that cited a discrepancy in the process and cleared her name.
This was followed by the training process that all recruits have to go through in order to join the force. And on Sunday, April 2, she did just that.
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Prithika’s achievement is particularly bittersweet, given the kind of societal rejections that members of the transgender community face on a daily basis. In Rajasthan, a trans woman called Ganga Kumari could have been the first transgender person in a state police force in 2015 if she had only been allowed join as constable. Like Prithika, Ganga is fighting back in the courts and has filed a writ in the Rajasthan High Court.
As for Prithika herself, she was the picture of optimism while speaking to the Times of India about her first day as a sub-inspector, noting, “I was not at all tense since all the senior officers and my colleagues were very cordial. In fact, I was very excited on my first day in duty.”
And Prithika will be at hand to ensure no one breaks the law as she continues to break the glass ceilings.