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First marriage between man and transwoman in India, paves way for other such unions

Guwahati, May 21, 2019:

One may have gone through reports of gay marriages and lesbian marriages across the world, but this time, a couple in India has set a new trend by becoming the first married cis-transgender couple in the country. This has created a sensation across the country.

For the first time in the state Tamil Nadu, a marriage between a man and a transwoman will be set officially after an order passed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that upheld their marriage.

Sirja and Arun Kumar got married in Sri Sankara Temple as per Hindu customs in the month of October last year. They approached the District Registrar Office to get their marriage certificates on Monday and are likely to receive it soon.

Sirja and Arun had to face many legal and bureaucratic hurdles to get their marriage registered as the Sub- Registrar denied issuing the marriage certificate citing lack of provisions in existing norms to formalize cis-transgender marriage.

Following this, the couple approached the High Court which on April 22 passed a significant judgment upholding their marriage. The judgment said, “discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation impairs equality before the law”. The bench further added that the expression of the bride under the Hindu Marriage Act will also include “transwomen”. When the gender identity is chosen to be expressed as a woman, it is not for the state authorities to question this self-determination, it added.

According to reports, during the time of tying the knot at the temple, the priest also did not officiate their wedding as marriage with transwoman was unusual. Sirja and Arun stated that the duo approached the High court to make the lives of other such couples easy.

It is to be mentioned that Arun Kumar is a contractor with the railways and Sirja is a second- year undergraduate student of English Literature at the V O Chidambaram College.

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