Constable Lalit Salve's journey: From sex change operation to getting married

Updated: 19 February, 2020 12:45 IST | Saumya Gourisaria
  • Beed district's Majalgaon found itself on the map and the reason wasn't completely simple or conventional — its constable Lalit Salve (formerly Lalita) and her fight for securing a nod for a sex reassignment surgery while retaining her job. Majalgaon was at the centre of a statewide discussion, as Salve in 2017 had approached the Bombay High Court, requesting that he be allowed to continue in the police force following a gender reassignment surgery

  • Much before her operation, as a student, Lalit Salve was very active since the time he wore his uniform. He was felicitated by schools and colleges for teaching a lesson to street harassers who trouble girl students.

  • Talking exclusively to mid-day in 2017, Lalit Salve said that he used to notice severe hormonal changes in his body till it came to a point where he could no longer keep quiet about it. Lalit then spoke to his mother first, and she asked him to see some doctors in their hometown. They then asked him to see a doctor in Mumbai

  • Lalit Salve's uncle had brought him to Mumbai in 2017, where he was referred to a surgeon in JJ hospital, who suggested her to undergo the surgery. After it was confirmed that surgery was the only option, he involved his family.

  • Initially, Lalit Salve had not even informed his father. Lalit said that when he opened up to his father, he took it very well. Lalit's only concern was his job as he is the only member in the family who has a stable job. While one of his brothers owns a mobile shop in their hometown, the other drives an autorickshaw.

  • A graduate in Literature, Lalit Salve had developed transexual gender symptoms around three years ago and in 2016, had even taken his seniors into confidence about his agony and plans for a sex-change operation

  • Constable Lalit Salve had done his research before writing to his superiors for leave — he had consulted a gynaecologist, psychologist and a plastic surgeon from a South Mumbai hospital well-known for doing such supra major sex change surgeries

  • Lalit Salve then made an application for a sex reassignment surgery (SRS) which was declared as 'strange' and rejected outright by her superiors

  • Undaunted, Lalit Salve filed a plea before the Bombay High Court which directed him to Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, and even appealed to former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

  • Fadnavis intervened and asked the director general of police to make an exception in his case and retain him in service as a male constable after the procedure. Fadnavis told mid-day that he decided to make an exception because it was among 'the rarest of rare' cases

  • A junior doctor, who was attached to the Grant medical college and privy to this case, said that Lalit Salve was keen to undergo the sex reassignment surgery and that he had underdeveloped male genitalia

  • The then CMO directed the Home Department to examine Lalit Salve's case positively, which in turn forwarded it to Law & Judiciary Department, and then on to the Director General of Police, followed by Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil

  • After Ranjit Patil's green signal, the final clearance came in writing from the government with the Superintendent of Police, Beed, G. Shreedhar allowing Lalit Salve's medical leave for SRS

  • On May 2018, Lalit Salve sought permission for the surgery and to be in service as a male constable afterward, as per consultations with JJ Hospital doctors

  • Lalit Salve's uncle Arjun Ujagare said, "We come from an orthodox family, and sex reassignment surgery and all are out of the ordinary for people like us. We have never even thought about such things, leave alone talk about it. We don't care about what the extended family and community speak about us, we just want to support her."

  • Lalit Salve, who was finally given permission for a sex reassignment surgery, got admitted to St George Hospital in May 2018, and the first procedure - to help him urinate the way men do - was started. After this, Lalit Salve went under the knife, plastic surgeons collected tissues from his body to form a scrotum

  • Lalit Salve's uncle Arjun Ujagare told mid-day in May 2018, "We have no words to express our happiness. Her mother [Kesarbai] and father [Madhukar] had been under tremendous pressure, as she was the breadwinner of the family. But now, the order has relieved us all."

  • Lalit Salve also underwent a hair transplant on his cheek to develop a beard. Salve was treated by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Rajat Kapur, one of the medical experts who, a few years back, had helped a man to change into a woman at JJ Hospital. After years of waiting, Lalit Kumar Salve (born as Lalita) on May 2018, finally felt like a man. Contrary to common perception, Lalit has biologically always been a man but was born with underdeveloped genitals that appeared more like a vagina, due to which he had been declared a woman on birth

  • Now that the surgery is over, Lalit Salve, is getting benefits granted to a male constable after joining duty. Salve is now treated as a male constable. 

  • Lalit Salve was brought up as a girl and would tie a rakhi to his two brothers every year on Raksha Bandhan. In 2018, Lalit Salve's sister tied him a rakhi

  • On May 25, 2019, Lalit Salve turned 31, but the Beed constable felt only a year old with this being his first birthday as a man. The family was joined by almost a hundred villagers, who'd flocked to celebrate 'one-year-old' Lalit. Knowing how special this day was for him, his family decorated their house with balloons and stickers. People from far-off areas and nearby villages also came to wish him. They brought him flowers, rice and even the Bhagavad Gita for his birthday. He was so overwhelmed that he couldn't stop crying. Now after a year, Lalit Salve has been able to grow facial hair with the help of hormonal medicines

  • Lalit Salve tied the knot with Seema who is a third-year Arts student on February 16 in Beed, Aurangabad. Seema had been keenly following Lalit's transition from Lalita which not only relieved Lalit but helped him from having any prejudices about her.

  • "I was sceptical about any woman accepting me after my transformation. I could understand how difficult it would be for anyone to digest the fact that I have become a man from a woman through surgery. But, Seema proved me wrong," Lalit says.

  • loading...

About The Gallery

Lalit Salve, 32, who was born as Lalita, came in the limelight in 2018, after going public with his struggle to transform into a man. He went through a series of legal and government battles, to become a man. He recently got married in his hometown, Beed, on February 16, in Aurangabad. Lalit's wife, Seema, is a third-year Arts student and had been following Lalit's transition from Lalita. 

First Published: 06 June, 2019 12:30 IST