India: Mumbai couple celebrates a first trans wedding

An Indian couple married in late December in what apparently was the first public transgender wedding in the nation’s largest city, Mumbai.

The Mumbai Mirror reports:

First open transgender wedding in Mumbai

Jay Kumar Sharma (right) and trans woman Madhuri Sarode (left) at their wedding on Dec. 28, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Abheena Aher and Mumbai Mirror)
Jay Kumar Sharma (right) and trans woman Madhuri Sarode (left) at their wedding on Dec. 28, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Abheena Aher and Mumbai Mirror)

For years, she has fought for the rights of the LGBT community. Now she’s asserted her own. On Wednesday, Madhuri Sarode, a transgender, married Jay Kumar Sharma, who she has been dating for two years, at a temple in Mumbai. The two met on Facebook and there was an instant connect but it would be another two years before Madhuri finally popped the question. The two decided that they will get married according to Hindu customs and found no reason to hide their relationship from the world. Though this is not the first transgender marriage, Madhuri and Jay’s wedding is one of the first that wasn’t held in secret.

Three years ago, in a widely hailed judgement, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgment recognising the rights of transgenders in the country. It gave transgenders a separate identity while voting, applying for passports, driving license or admission to educational institutions. But it didn’t define their rights to marriage, something Madhuri Sarode wants to ensure happens.

“We have been together for two years. Our marriage should be accepted legally, but it is a difficult process. But if we can get a separate identity, we should also be allowed to get married,” said Madhuri.

Jay’s sister and brother in law flew down from Dubai to attend the wedding and have been very supportive of his decision. His parents, he says, know of their relationship, but he hasn’t told them about the wedding. For now, top of mind is getting a marriage certificate.

“I want the marriage certificate to be given to me as a transgender. I’m willing to fight for it, and even go to court if I have to,” she says. “We live in India and it’s really difficult to pull Section 377 [India’s law against “intercourse against the order of nature“] out of the books. Personally I haven’t faced any issues but I want to fight for myself and other Madhuris in India.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at

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