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Constable Lalita Salve is a man: Mumbai doctors

Medical condition at birth created gender confusion, owing to which family raised Salve as a woman

mumbai Updated: Dec 05, 2017 23:26 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,constable,Lalita Salve
Constable Lalita Salve was born with an anomaly called ‘undescended testes’ creating confusion about her gender since birth, said team of doctors who examined Salve at JJ hospital. (HT file)

Doctors who examined 28-year-old police constable Lalita Salve from Rajegaon in Beed district said the she is a man, but was born with an anomaly called ‘undescended testes’ creating confusion about her gender since birth. Salve had approached the Bombay high court seeking a month’s leave for ‘gender reassignment surgery’.

After the constable’s medical and psychiatric evaluation on Monday at Sir JJ Hospital, Byculla, it came to light that the Salve is a man, but was raised as a woman by the family owing to gender confusion created by her medical condition.

Ambiguous genitalia is a rare condition in which an infant’s external genitals don’t resemble that of a man or a woman, said Dr Ashok Anand, gynaecologist, who headed the panel. The report was sent to deputy director general of police on Tuesday.

“The constable doesn’t need a gender reassignment surgery, but may need a corrective surgery for a fully developed male genitalia,” Anand said. “We did a karyotyping test — to evaluate the type of chromosomes to understand her gender, which ideally should have been done at the time of the birth — after doctors first noticed the anomaly,” said Anand. “People born with this condition face psychological issues such as gender identity crisis and depression.”

“As they grow up, they are reared to think that they belong to the opposite sex, but from within they have a tendency to relate to their biological sex,” Dr Shirish Malde, a sexologist, said. The corrective surgery would mean improving the genitalia in terms of dimension and function, said doctors. “A plastic surgery is done to create neophallus — an artificial penis — which will have the near normal dimensions and function,” said Malde.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 23:26 IST