After sex change surgery, railway staffer struggles to get details changed in official records
“This is a technical issue and we are looking into the legal aspects,” NER public relations officer CP Chauhan said.Updated: Jul 23, 2019, 09:03 IST
A 35-year-old male railway employee, who underwent a sex change surgery in 2017, is now struggling to change details in the official records with the Railways. The old identity card and other documents continue to show her a man, causing difficulty in official work with a new identity.
Employed as grade one technician in the Izzatnagar (Bareilly) workshop, Rajesh Pandey has approached the North Eastern Railway general manager’s office in Gorakhpur, seeking a change in her name (Sonia Pandey) and sex (female). The request has sent the top railways’ brass into a huddle, as this is for the first time that an employee wants to change his sex and name in official records.
HT has a copy of the application Pandey sent to NER GM.
Pandey, a resident of Bareilly district, had first moved an application to the Izzatnagar workshop general manager. But when the issue was remained unresolved, Pandey brought the matter to the notice of NER GM (Gorakhpur) for consideration. Izzatnagar division falls under NER, headquartered at Gorakhpur.
“This is a technical issue and we are looking into the legal aspects,” NER public relations officer CP Chauhan said.
Pandey, who was the only brother among four sisters, had got the job as a dependent after his father died in 2003.
Before undergoing surgery, he was married to a local woman but the marriage could not last long as the couple divorced following his admission that he didn’t find himself comfortable in a man’s body, Pandey told Hindustan Times.
Now as Sonia, Pandey attends office in full make-up and dresses up in a saree or other female attire.
“As I grew up, I realised that I am a person whose soul has been put in a wrong body. Womanly thoughts would come to me and I took interest in make-up. My family forced me to marry but I told my wife the truth and she agreed to part ways,” Pandey said.
“With a man’s identity, I was depressed and shattered and often contemplated suicide. Later, someone suggested that I undergo sex change through surgery,” Pandey said.
“This gave me a ray of hope but my mother and sisters opposed the decision. As for me, I thought it was better to opt for gender change than to be unhappy every day. It has been two years now and things have started becoming normal,” said Pandey adding, “As I faced trouble in carrying on my job with the new gender identity and changed name, I appealed to railway officials to allow me to continue my job by changing my gender and name in the official records. I am determined to do so and ready to take this fight to even the Railway Board.”
Asked how people, including office colleagues, reacted to her new identity, Pandey said, “Initially, they maintained a distance, but later they began mingling and things became normal. What gave me further confidence is the fact that I am not the only one to have changed sex. Many in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities and parts of the world have opted for it.
Like me, they were also not comfortable with the body they were in.”