Marriage would happen next year: India’s first transgender bureaucrat

New Delhi: A 34-year-old bureaucrat from Odisha, Aishwarya Rituparna Pradhan, is planning to tie the knot with her boyfriend with whom she has been in live-in relationship for last 2 years.

Pradhan – who currently serves as deputy commissioner(in-charge) of GST in Paradip circle of Odisha commercial tax department had come out as a transgender in 2015, a year after SC recognised the fundamental and civil rights of transgender persons.

“Though my boyfriend wanted me to get married to him for over a year, I put off the decision only due to Section 377. Now that the Supreme Court has decriminalised it, I have decided to marry him. The marriage would happen next year,” said Pradhan.

How Pradhan embraced her identity

  • Born as Ratikanta Pradhan in Kanabagiri village of Kandhamal district, Aishwarya entered into Odisha Financial Services in 2010 with her gender identified as Male.
  • But she was uncomfortable with the identity and always wanted to declare her transgender identity till the SC judgement came in 2014.
  • She underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2015 following which she officially declared her new identity and assumed the new name Aishwarya Rutuparna Pradhan.

Special Marriages Act to come in play

  • Pradhan said when her boyfriend, an entrepreneur, first proposed him 3 years ago, she had laughed him off thinking to be a case of infatuation.
  • “I have never encountered such things in my life as all that I have faced is humiliation. I told him that he was very younger to me. I had forgotten all about it till we met in Bhubaneswar some months later. Then he asked me my phone number and I readily gave. I also had feelings about him. We have been in a live-in relationship for 2 years,” said Pradhan, who plans to get married in court under Special Marriages Act.

Traumatic college life

  • Pradhan said the marriage next year would be achievement of one more goal of her life that has often been traumatic.
  • “In school teachers used to ridicule and humiliate me. In university, I was sexually abused by my peers in hostel. My father was a retired armyman always asked me to behave like a man. But inside me, I was feeling like a girl. I used to get beaten up,” said Pradhan, who used to wear her sister’s clothes and her cosmetics. “Sometimes I also wore mother’s gold ornaments. That made me happy,” said Pradhan.