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Verdict shot in the arm for Aishwarya

The state's first government gazetted officer from the transgender community plans to marry her live-in partner following the Supreme Court judgment that decriminalised "sexual intercourse against the order of the nature".

By Our Correspondent in Paradip
  • Published 9.09.18
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Aishwarya at her office. Telegraph picture

Paradip: The state's first government gazetted officer from the transgender community plans to marry her live-in partner following the Supreme Court judgment that decriminalised "sexual intercourse against the order of the nature".

A five-judge constitution bench on Thursday unanimously decriminalised private homosexual acts between consenting adults, striking down as unconstitutional a British-era provision that punished such acts with jail terms up to life.

"The top court verdict, which watered down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, has paved the way for dignified living for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community. The court should now stamp its seal of approval on same-sex marriage, inheritance of property in accordance with the Right to Equality," said Aishwarya Rutuparna Pradhan, whom the state government had conferred transgender identity through a gazette notification in 2017.

"Now, marriage is confined only between males and females. The court needs to empower citizens like us to legally marry the man/woman whom we love, adore and respect. It's only a matter of time. The apex court would be kind enough to confer these rights to us as well," she said.

Aishwarya, 34, became Odisha's first state cadre civil servant from the transgender community. Aishwarya, then Ratikanta Pradhan, had come out successful in Odisha Public Service Commission-conducted Odisha Financial Service Examination in 2010. Since then, she has been posted as a commercial tax officer in Paradip.

"I had donned the mantle of commercial tax officer as a male. An apex court ruling dated April 15, 2014, recognising the transgender community under the 'third gender' category and guaranteeing their constitutional rights was a shot in the arm for me. I had made up my mind to opt for the third gender identity instead of male gender and written to the state government. Last year, I was officially recognised as a transgender on all official records."

"I have a boyfriend. He is self-employed. We nurture the fond hope that we will marry soon. We wait for the apex court's favourable ruling in this regard. I have dreamt of having a family of my own with my partner. I have resolved to adopt an orphan girl child following the marriage," said Aishwarya, a native of Kanabagiri village under G. Udaygiri block in Kandhamal district.

She is a postgraduate in public administration and a graduate from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.