Transgender Bollywood star and TV celebrity, Bobby Darling, is seeking a divorce from her husband at a court in Bandra, western India.
She claims he assaulted her and is seeking nearly US$300,000 in alimony, according to local media.
But, her husband is questioning the validity of their marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act.
Darling became one of India’s most prominent transgender people in 2005. She appeared on popular reality TV show Big Boss.
Her husband’s lawyer is now arguing that the marriage is null and void because Darling did not disclose her gender affirming surgery prior to the wedding in 2015, according to News18.com
‘According to the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, the marriage takes place between the groom and the bride. Marriage takes place between a male and a female and not between a transgender, who converts into a woman, and a man’ lawyer G J Ramchandani told News 18.
Darling’s lawyers have countered that, at the time of the marriage, Darling’s identity documents declared her as female.
‘It is clearly a double standard, which should be objected to’ Darling’s lawyers told News 18.
‘If you say she is not your wife, she is not a woman then return her property. But he doesn’t want to do that’.
Police arrested Darling’s husband in May 2018 after she reported him for domestic violence, according to News 18.
Trans rights in India
India’s Supreme Court in 2014 recognized trans identities as a third gender.
But, the community remains marginalized. Families and employers shun trans individuals.
What’s more, activists have slammed a trans rights bill currently in the Upper House of Parliament. They say it further infringes rights rather than protects them.
But, the last few months have seen high visibility for trans individuals.
Last month, India’s first Miss Trans Queen joined one of the country’s largest political parties.
Earlier this year, the same party appointed its first transgender office-bearer.
Trans gurus also made history earlier this year by leading a religious procession.
Violence continues, however. One trans politician running for office in Hyderabad went missing during her election campaign.
Last month, a man decapitated a trans priestess in her temple.