Sindhu Ganapathy (37) has emerged as the first transwoman Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) of Southern Railway.
For G. Sindhan, who had joined the Railways as a male employee in 2003 life was easy-going initially. But, hormonal changes in his physique turned his life upside down.
“I joined the Railways as an Assistant. But, years after, I realised certain physical changes in my body. It slowly showed up to others,” Ms. Sindhu said.
Though she found the railway premises very amiable, the outside world kept nagging her for her feminine behaviour.
Already under tremendous mental stress, Ms. Sindhu deserted the job in 2010. She started to live with fellow transgenders as she required mental peace.
After 18 months of secluded life, she realised the need for a respectable life and wanted to rejoin the railways.
“Though the officials did not want to deny me my job, they were little bit hesitant as my gender has undergone full transformation. It was then the office-bearers of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU), Senthil Kumar and J.M. Rafi, strongly argued my case with the officials,” Ms. Sindhu recalled their role with gratitude.
The union leaders insisted that a medical examination could be carried out by the railway doctors and based on the outcome her gender could be decided.
“Thankfully, the railway administration accepted the change in her gender and treated me as a woman employee,” she said.
Even as she grew up ranks as Senior Technician in the Railway Electrical Department, she suffered a set back as she met with an accident in 2020.
Consequently, the accident rendered her unfit for technical job and she was offered non-technical work.
“Since, my young days I wanted to serve the public at large and wanted to become a TTE. Hence, I underwent training and cleared the exam to become a TTE,” she said.
Last week, Ms. Sindhu was posted as TTE in Dindigul.
“I have dual role as a sleeper class TTE and also to man the lobby at Dindigul station. I am overwhelmed at the acceptance of my physical changes by majority of the public,” she said.
She is elated as many of them walk up to her and shake hands with her to congratulate. “This shows that the public perception about transgenders has undergone tremendous change in the last seven to eight years,” she said.
A few people celebrated her posting in Dindigul by distributing cake, she said.
This response had boosted her confidence.
“I consciously chose this post wherein I have to work with a large number of travelling public. This will get recognition not just for me but for the likes of me in the society,” she said.
“Transgenders still need to struggle a lot to find better opportunities. Reservation for us in State and Central Government jobs would erase the bad image for them in the society and give them respectable positions,” she said.