Last week, 25-year-old marketing executive Shruti Srivastava told her family she was going out of town for a week. She lied, with reason. She went to a hospital across town to become a man. Usually done in stages, this is the first time the complete female-to-male sex reassignment surgery was done at one go in India.
Shruti underwent a successful sex change operation at Delhi’s Sitaram Bhartia Institute on January 20. “I don’t have to pretend to be a man anymore. I can finally marry the girl I want to,” says Shruti-turned-Sunil.
Sunil’s college sweetheart Shweta Jain stood by him all along and was his only visitor in hospital. “We both decided to go ahead with the surgery because we wanted to get married, but it would not have been legally possible until one of us was a man,” says Sunil. A team led by senior consultant urologist Dr SV Kotwal operated upon him.
Sunil always dressed and behaved like a man, from riding a motorbike to walking with a swagger. “My family accepted that I liked dressing and behaving like a man. But this surgery will upset them. I’m not looking forward to telling my mother that her daughter is now her son,” he says.
Though they shrug it off, the world has been far from kind. All hell broke loose after 24-year-old Shweta’s family discovered that Sunil was more than just their daughter’s best friend. “My dad was livid. My parents called Sunil and abused him. They did not allow me to meet him, took away my cellphone and banned me from using the landline telephone at home for months,” says Shweta. The couple has not figured out a way to break the news about their decision to wed. All they know is that it will have to be soon.
(Name of patient has been changed)