Indian man accused of ‘duping’ woman into gender confirmation surgery with promise of marriage

gender confirmation Surgery

A district court in Chandigarh, India, has begun the trial of a man accused of “forcing” a person to undergo gender confirmation surgery under the promise of marriage.

The unnamed complainant, who was assigned male at birth, alleges that Sunil Kumar, 32, forcefully injected female hormones into her, promising that they would be wed once she had undergone surgery.

He threatened her to keep quiet about their relationship and said things would be “fine soon”, The Times of India said.

But after the complainant underwent the surgery in Chandigargh 2016, Kumar refused to marry her, and she later found out that he was already married and had a seven-year-old son.

Upon learning she’d been “duped” the woman filed a complaint stating that she would commit suicide if no action was taken against Kumar, as he had “made her life hell”.

Kumar, who comes from Panipat in the north of India, was arrested on December 18, 2018.

On September 26, 2017, police filed a report accusing Kumar under sections 328 (Causing hurt by means of poison, etc., with intent to commit an offence), 377 (Unnatural offences) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation).

Transgender activists protest the Transgender Persons Bill in New Delhi on January 20, 2019. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty)

Growing market for gender confirmation surgery in India.

India’s reputation for gender confirmation surgeries is growing online, suggesting that India may soon overtake Thailand as the world capital of medical tourism.

Last year it was reported by Wired that the Western world is fuelling a gender confirmation surgery “boom” in India as transgender people in the UK bypass the two to three-year-long waits at gender identity clinics.

Plastic surgeons in major cities across India have seen a spike in foreign patients, mostly for male to female transition, and the largely positive feedback has ensured a steady stream of visitors.

However, although the provisions for surgery may be improving, many Indian trans advocates note that the new legislation developing around trans issues leaves much to be desired.

A ‘trans rights’ bill passed last year was dubbed “regressive” and “dehumanising” by activists, who argued that it would see trans people tangled in red tape, having to register as trans, then provide proof of surgery to the authorities.

They will also be required to seek approval before a “screening committee” before legally changing their gender.