The Tamil Nadu police force has announced that three transgender women will be joining its ranks in November after enlistment rules were changed earlier this year, The Hindu reports.
The three trans women passed the rigorous physical and mental trials—including passing a written examination and running a 100-metre-sprint—to earn their place on the squad.
It’s the first time that the local police force has actively encouraged members of the transgender community to apply for positions—trans women who previously attempted to join were turned away when their gender identity was discovered.
A senior police official commented that people who identify as third-gender would be “eligible to apply in all recruitment’s conducted by the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board in future.”
“The entry of transgenders is yet another milestone for the State Police. We were the first to establish the All Women Police Station in the country.”
The Director-General, Bureau of Police Research & Development, M.C. Borwankar said the new recruitment process should serve as an inspiration to other police forces around the country.
“It is a welcome move and other States should follow. We have been denying them [the transgender community] their due space for centuries. I am happy that the third gender has joined us,” she said.
Trailblazer K Prithika Yashini became the first trans woman to join the Tamil Nadu police force in 2015—but was involved in a lengthy legal battle to fight for her right to become a Sub Inspector.
The Madras High Court ruled in her favour, with the two presiding judges saying that Yashini had every right to be employed as an officer.
"The social impact of such recruitment cannot be lost sight of, as it would give strength to the case of transgender [people],” the judges said.
"Yashini must reach the finish line, and not be stopped and disqualified in the middle."