A transgender couple whose pregnant photos have gone viral

Jiya Paval and Zahad

The couple expects to welcome a baby soon

Pregnant photos of an Indian transgender couple who took a break from hormone therapy to give birth have been widely shared on social media.

Jiya Paval, 21, and her partner Zahad, 23, from southern Kerala, were in the process of transitioning when they decided to have a baby.

Paval, who said he always wanted to be a parent, was recorded as male when he was born but now identifies as female.

Zahad, who uses only one name, was observed as female at birth and is now recognized as male. He is currently pregnant and the couple are expecting a baby soon.

Social media pages are flooded with congratulations for the couple.

“Transgender people deserve a family,” transgender actress S Negha commented on Paval’s Instagram post, which shared the photo.

Paval and Zahad say their experience may be unusual in India because “as far as we know, no one in the transgender community has called themselves biological parents.”

Jiya Paval and Zahad

Social media is flooded with congratulations for the couple

There are an estimated 2 million transgender people in India, but activists say the number is much higher. In 2014, India’s Supreme Court ruled that they have the same rights as everyone else.

However, they still struggle to access education and health care and often face stigma and stigma.

When Paval and Zahad met three years ago, they were both estranged from their families.

“I come from a conservative Muslim family that never allowed me to learn traditional dance,” says Paval. “[My parents] They were orthodox in that they cut my hair so that I wouldn’t dance.

Ms. Paval says she left home to attend a youth festival and never came back.

She learned dance at a transgender community center. She currently teaches it to students in the Cozhikode district.

An accountant by training, Mr. Zahad comes from a Christian family from a fishing community in Thiruvananthapuram city. He works at a supermarket now.

He had left his family after coming out as transgender. However, after he became pregnant, his family accepted and supported the couple.

“They are helping Zahad during her pregnancy,” Paval said.

Zahad’s mother was the first to ask her to keep her pregnancy private. After she gave her permission, they announced it on her Instagram page last week.

Ms. Paval says her family has not yet returned.

ஜியாபாவல் - சஹத்

Paval is a dance teacher and Zahad is an accountant.

Ms Paval told the BBC that the couple decided to have a baby a year and a half ago when they were in different stages of transition.

Zahad’s ovaries and uterus had not yet been removed, so the couple stopped hormone therapy on the advice of doctors.

The couple’s doctor is not authorized to speak to the media.

“Once the pregnancy is over, you can resume sex hormone therapy,” says Dr. Mahesh DM, an endocrinologist in the city of Bangalore who has worked with several transgender people.

After the baby is born, the couple say they have to find more work to make ends meet.

“It’s very difficult to survive,” Paval said, adding that they would have to take in more dance students.

“Zahad will go back to work about two months after the baby is born. Then I will take care of the baby.”

The couple say the transgender community has “very welcomed” their pregnancy.

“Of course, there are people within and outside the transgender community who believe in stereotypes. They think transgender people cannot have babies,” Paval says.

“[But] it doesn’t matter. “

Read more India articles from the BBC: