By Josh Jackman
Transgender women are set to become police officers in a ground-breaking move for India.
The police force in Tamil Nadu changed its rules earlier this year so that trans people could apply.
India made Prithika Yashini its first trans police officer last year, but only after a protracted legal battle.
This marks the first time that trans people have been actively encouraged to join the police, and it has proved successful.
She and her two new colleagues scored well enough in their tests to be placed in the Armed Reserve – the force’s top category.
The trans officers will be given the opportunity to apply for roles in the male, female or third gender categories.
Three years ago, the Indian Supreme Court granted third gender status to trans people, and endorsed people’s right to determine the gender they identify with.
A senior police official said: “As a matter of policy, the third gender will be eligible to apply in all recruitment’s conducted by the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board in future.
“The entry of transgenders is yet another milestone for the State Police.”
M.C. Borwankar, the Director-General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development in the state, said: “It is a welcome move, and other states should follow.
“We have been denying [transgender people] their due space for centuries,” she added.
“I am happy that the third gender has joined us.”
This was not long after the government approved a bill to protect the rights of trans people.
And in April, the Parliament passed a historic law ensuring equal rights for people with HIV or AIDS.
Violence against trans people is still all too common in the country, though.