India: Sabi, the trans woman fired by Navy for transitioning

October 6 started like any other day for Sabi Giri. Little did she know that the day would progress to confirm her worst fears.

Sabi, a trans woman, first came into the limelight when she stood to lose her job in the Indian Navy because she underwent a gender affirmation surgery. And on October 6, that's exactly what happened. Around 10am, she was handed a letter telling her that her services were no longer required in the Navy.

“It hasn’t been good,” Sabi tells TNM five days later, sounding weary. “I asked them why they were firing me when they handed me the document. They just said that I was not required in the Navy anymore,” Sabi narrates.

“I went into shock,” she adds.

The 25-year-old has served in the Navy for seven years and was posted at the INS Eksila base in the mechanical engineering department. It hurts her that those years of service meant little to her employers just because she identified as a woman.

Sabi goes on to discuss the Indian Navy Act, 1957, which was introduced by British rulers years ago. 

Article 9(2) of Chapter 4 of the Act mandates women as ineligible to be appointed in the Indian Navy “except in such department, branch or other body forming part thereof or attached thereto and subject to such conditions as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.”

But Sabi argues that this is a regressive provision and not relevant to today’s day and age. “Now there is so much progress. We have so many well-educated people in power. Why should an archaic provision stop people like me who have the required skills, simply because they identify with another gender?” Sabi asks. Read more via the News Minute