Trans man delivers healthy baby in first for India: ‘Tears of joy rolling down’

Ziya Paval and her partner Zahad have welcome their first child  (Instagram/Ziya Paval)
Ziya Paval and her partner Zahad have welcome their first child (Instagram/Ziya Paval)

A transgender couple in India’s southern state of Kerala is the first in the country to have become biological parents.

Ziya Paval, a dancer, announced that her partner Zahad had given birth to a baby at a government hospital in Kozhikode city on Wednesday.

The couple has not disclosed the gender identity of the newborn

“Tears of joy rolling down,” wrote Ms Paval on Instagram while sharing a photo of the newborn.

Mr Zahad, 23, and the child who was reportedly born nearly a month early, were doing fine.

“I am so happy. Today is the day I got to hold my baby,” Ms Paval, 21, told ANI. She added that the child had “some milk” and was “perfectly fine”, with “no problems physically or mentally”.

The couple was undergoing gender transition procedure but decided to stall treatment so they could have the baby.

“When we started to live together three years ago, we thought our lives should be different from other transgenders. Most transgender couples are boycotted by society as well as their families,” Ms Paval had earlier said.

“We wanted a baby, so that we leave behind something of ourselves even after our days in this world are numbered.”

Transgender people were officially recognised as a “third gender” in India in 2014. Despite the recognition, the community continues to face discrimination and stigma.

Kerala’s health minister Veena George reportedly spoke to Ms Paval over the phone and directed the hospital superintendent to provide free treatment to Mr Zahad and the newborn. The hospital has been directed to provide breast milk to the baby from its breast milk bank.

State education minister R Bindu in a tweet congratulated the new parents. “Let the birth of their child – whose very existence subverts society’s obsolete and rigid cisgender dichotomies – open doors to a new, more inclusive, gender-aware world,” she wrote.

Activist Diya Sana took to Facebook to announce the birth of the child. “I heard the baby crying. Both (parent and newborn) are healthy,” Ms Sana wrote.

“The next question would be whether the baby is a boy or a girl. It’s a baby. Let us stop the practice of tagging a baby (as boy or girl) at the time of birth.

“Queer individuals will be resisting the general public perception and updates that ‘they are blessed with a baby boy/ girl’.”