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Priya Motiani

JWB Blogger

Meet Aishraya Pradhan, 32 Y.O. Odishi Bureaucrat And A Transgender

  • JWB Post
  •  December 23, 2015


“When I was a teenager, I started feeling that I belong to the third sex. I started wearing bangles, earrings, nose rings, and salwar suits because that is the attire I felt comfortable in. Even my parents and friends ostracized me. Now, finally, people have accepted me for what I am.”

These are the words of yet another transgender woman who recently came out of the closet. She is an Odishi, and a 32-year old bureaucrat, who revealed her true identity as much as a year after transgender came to be recognized as the third gender by the Supreme Court.

Meet Aishraya Rutuparna Pradhan, Paradip port’s commercial tax officer who was born as a boy named Ratikanta.  It is only last year that she changed her name after dodging endless obstacles and emotional upheavals.

One of these struggles was of course when she appeared for the Odishi Financial Services (OFS) exam in the year 2010. Why, you ask? It is because she had to appear as a male due to the lack of the third gender category.

“There was no quota or concessional cut-off in the written (OFS) exam, physical examination or interview for transgenders.”

Crossing these hurdles is praiseworthy, but not sufficient for a happily-ever-after. Because a whole new set of obstacles awaits Aishraya and others like her in the future.

Take for instance Aishraya’s dream of becoming a mother by adopting a child. Given the current state of affairs, this will continue to remain a far away dream.

“As per the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, only males and females can adopt children. I hope the government amends the Act to pave the way for transgenders to adopt children.”

But, being the woman of strength and determination that she is, Aishraya is empowering the lives of other transgender people that are as many as 25,000 in numbers in Odisha, through a Bhubaneswar-based organization, ‘Sakha’.

“There are many instances where transgenders have carved a niche for themselves and made a difference with their contribution towards the society, but they are still ridiculed and not accepted.”

Currently, she is pleading the government to open up exclusive educational and employment opportunities for transgender people.

Way to go, Aishraya! We’re super proud!

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