Karnataka couple separated by family as woman is transgender, police threaten Section 377

Two days after their wedding, a couple in Karnataka’s Koppal district has been separated by the man’s family as his partner is a transgender woman. Now, they’re being threatened with Section 377.
Radhika and Shivakumar got married in her house in the Sadashivanagar area of Koppal town on June 21. The ceremony was performed by members of Radhika’s transgender family before the Santhoshi Maa deity.
“His family knew about our love all along and they did not object. But marriage, they say, is unacceptable,” says 19-year-old Radhika. Both belong to the Lambani community.
On Thursday morning, Shivakumar’s relatives arrived at the house and took him to the Koppal Town police station.
Along with her family of fellow transgender women, Radhika too went to the police station. She wrote a complaint to the police seeking help. “I wrote that Shivakumar’s family was trying to forcibly separate a man and woman who are married,” Radhika said.
“A woman police constable told me ‘You are already living a lie. You are not a woman but a man. Just because you wear a saree doesn’t mean you become a woman. Why do you want to spoil this man’s life?’ They are playing with our emotions by separating someone who wants live together,” Radhika said.
Shivakumar told The News Minute that he was kept locked up in his house. “They called five people to beat me up. I will live for Radhika until I die. I don’t want to live with anyone except her,” he said.
Radhika was born male and underwent sex-change surgery slightly over a year ago. Shortly after that, she met Shivakumar at the Koppal railway station where he is a tea seller. She would go there to collect money.
“We’ve been in a relationship for over a year. I have met his family members, who did not object to our relationship until the wedding. They want Shivakumar to marry a relative’s daughter and have children,” she said.
Radhika says she and Shivakumar discussed children before they made their decision. “When I told him that we might not be able to have children, he said all he wants is my company. He did not want to get married to his cousin. He even told his parents that he would be spoiling her life if he did,” she said.
Asked whether they would file a case, Vandana, a member of Radhika’s family, says, “Only if the police are ready to speak to us can we think of filing a case. They aren’t accepting our complaint. Instead they are threatening to book a case against us under Section 377.”
Asked about the alleged threats to book them under Section 377, Koppal Superintendent of Police Thyagrajan said, “Let the complainants speak to me. Only then I can look into the issue. So far there is no case.”
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