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TN Govt appoints first transgender nurse
Tamil Nadu

TN Govt appoints first transgender nurse

S Murari

The Tamil Nadu on Monday appointed a transgender as a staff nurse at a primary health centre in Tiruchi. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami gave the appointment order to Anbu Ruby at a function in Chennai.

Native of Thoothukudi, Anbu Ruby completed her B.Sc Nursing in Tirunelveli in 2016 and was recruited through Medical Recruitment Board (MRB) on a consolidated pay. Expressing her gratitude to the Chief Minister and the Health Minister C Vijayabaskar,Ruby said "I want to understand medical issues faced by our transgender community in a better way and also serve the poor”. Ruby initially chose female gender after sex change as rules did not provide for a third gender then.

"When I was in the final year Nursing, my father passed away. From then on my mother supported my education. After nursing, I pursued MBA in Hospital Management. My mother is a farmer. She is very happy that I got the job purely based on merit."

She said that officials had promised to regularise her service and post her in Thoothukudi after two years so that she could take care of her mother. Like others in the transgender community, she also faced discrimination, but she learnt to overcome it. "During the first year of college itself, I understood my sexual orientation and underwent sex change surgery last year. My professors, friends at the college accepted me, but a few bullied me. Unlike many other parents, my parents were very supportive and accepted me as I am."

Ruby registered as a male in the Tamil Nadu Nurses and Midwives Council as there was no provision for the third gender at that time. However, "While applying for a job in the Medical Recruitment Board I selected the 'female' option as there was no separate column for transgender. I got my job purely based on merit. The Health Department has given me the appointment order as 'transgender woman' staff nurse.”

Ruby is the first transgender nurse in Tamil Nadu to get a job in Government, However, in October, 23-year-old Rashika from Tamil Nadu became the first from the community to be registered by the Tamil Nadu Nurses and Midwives Council.

On Oct 26, the Madras High Court on a petition directed the council to register Rashika as a woman until its act was amended to include the third gender. She had to be without a job since getting the degree for a year until she got her name registered by the council.