A transgender couple in India, who just recently gave birth, went viral for their pregnancy photoshoot.
Ziya Paval, 21, and Zahad, 23, are a transgender couple from the southern state of Kerala. They were in the process of hormone therapy to transition when they decided to have a baby.
Paval, who was born a male, now identifies as female. Zahad, who was born as a female, now identifies as male.
“We are about to realize my dream of becoming a mother and his dream of becoming a father. An eight-month-old fetus is now in Zahad’s belly,” Paval previously wrote in an Instagram post, according to Outlook India. “From what we came to know, this is the first trans man’s pregnancy in India.”
The couple, who were both estranged from their families, met three years ago.
Paval belonged to a conservative Muslim family until she left home to participate in a youth festival. She learned classical dance at a transgender community center and now teaches it in the Kozhikode district.
As for Zahad, he grew up in a Christian family from the fishing community in Thiruvananthapuram city. He currently works at a supermarket.
Although he left his family after coming out to them as transgender, his family has since accepted him and Paval after he became pregnant. They have been supportive ever since, according to the couple.
According to the couple, the transgender community has been “very welcoming” of their pregnancy.
Paval and Zahad gave birth at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital on Wednesday morning.
Although the couple has chosen not to disclose the gender of the baby as of now, Paval shared a photo of the child’s hands on Instagram.
In the wait of the times, today (08/02/2023) Wednesday morning at 09:37 with the sound of our dreams, weighing 2.920kg, the breathing on the earth and the light in the eyes that never bloomed. Tears of joy rolled down into tears. Safe in the arms of the angels with no other complications. Many people who were held with prayers may be as a result of that. Thanks and gratitude beyond words to all those who stood by me.
Congratulations for the couple have poured in as their photos have become widely shared on social media.
Paval and Zahad said that their pregnancy may be rare in India as “no one else has called themselves a biological parent in the transgender community,” as far as they know.
India is reportedly estimated to have around 2 million transgender people.
In 2014, India’s Supreme Court ruled that transgender people should be recognized as a third gender and that they are to have the same rights and benefits in education and employment.
However, many trans people, who still often face prejudice and stigma in the country, struggle with equal access to education and healthcare.
“Of course, there are people both within the transgender community as well as outside who believe in stereotypes,” Paval said. “They think a trans man cannot be carrying a baby, [but] it doesn’t matter.