In the last one and a half years, five transgender people have committed suicide in Kerala. Three transgender people have been killed under mysterious circumstances. Recently, two people were killed in Kozhikode city centre and one in the Aluva railway station area. Despite the protests by the transgender community in Kerala, the issue has not been discussed by the public. Not even the police have been vigilant enough to find the culprit behind the murders.
Despite being fully aware of the political and social spheres, Kerala has become a land of gendercide (killing in the name of gender and sexuality). Kerala is a state that has implemented a transgender policy. Although the transgender community receives an increasing exposure in media, these individuals are still considered as third genders and aliens to society. This series is an investigation into the real problems that transgender people experience when they decide to travel to the bodies of desire by throwing away the bodies in which they were forced to live in by birth.
Sherin: The last link in the death series
Actress and model, transgender Sherin Celine Mathews, was found dead on May 17, 2022. Sherin is the last link in a series of transgender suicides. She was 27 years old. The body was found hanging in a flat in Kochi.
The Palarivattom police found Sherin dead after she had not been seen outside the flat for two days. Sherin hails from Alappuzha and lives in Kochi. Her friends had found remains of hormone tablets used by Sherin in her room.
Sneha, a transgender from Kannur, committed suicide on February 10, 2021. Sneha was a candidate in the Kannur Corporation elections. She set herself on fire by pouring kerosene all over her body following a family quarrel. Sneha had also contested in the last local body elections as an independent candidate from Kannur Corporation.
Although the 34 year was rushed to Kannur Government Medical College for treatment, she died at night unable to withstand injuries. Born as a son to Sulaiman and Kochamma, Sneha later identified with her sexuality and became a transgender. In the local body elections of Kannur Corporation, she participated as an independent candidate from the 36th Division. Posters requesting votes for K Sneha were circulating all over social media. Participation of a member of the transgender community as a candidate for elections was indeed big news in Kerala.
While contesting the elections, Sneha had expressed hope to contribute more to the country and the transgender community. Sneha was contesting as an independent candidate in the local body elections under the umbrella symbol. Although the cause of death is said to be a family dispute, no further details are available.
This transgender woman committed suicide by jumping in front of a train on November 27, 2021. Tahira Aziz, a transgender activist, jumped in front of a train and killed herself. She was a model and has participated in various beauty pageants. There are indications that Tahira committed suicide as she could not bear the death of her life partner in a car accident. She ended her life in Ernakulam. Seema Vineeth, another transgender activist, says it was Tahira's loneliness that pushed her to her death.
In July 2021, transgender Ananyakumari Alex committed suicide. Ananya's was one of the few transgender deaths that were widely discussed in Kerala. Serious mistakes in gender reassignment surgery led Ananya to commit suicide.
Following the death, the government announced an inquiry into the hospital. The probe was ordered against Renai Medicity Hospital in Ernakulam. The Additional Director of the Department of Health is in charge of the investigation. Queer activist Prajith's complaint alleges that Ananyakumari Alex's gender reassignment surgery went awry, and she died of depression.
Ananya herself had come to the scene with the allegation that the doctor had made a mistake in the gender reassignment surgery. She was later committing suicide. The post-mortem report clearly stated that Ananya had wounds that did not heal even a year post surgery.
Meanwhile, information about Ananyakumari Alex's surgery has also come out. Ananya had then revealed that the doctor who performed the surgery made serious mistakes and had lodged a complaint with Health Minister Veena George in this regard. However, she received an indifferent approach from the minister. Ananya's words to a private online media say:
'The gender reassignment surgery was led by Arjun Asokan, a plastic surgeon at Renai Medicity. His wife, Dr. Suja Sukumar, is an endocrinologist there. She was the one who did the hormone treatment. The surgery was scheduled for June 14, 2020. Meanwhile, Bhadra Mal, a dance teacher from Kottayam, also underwent surgery. The two had their surgeries in the same theatre at the same time.
My method was to create a vagina from the intestine by colon vaginoplasty. I was discharged on the sixth day after the surgery. By then, the surgery charges were more than what was said at the time. About two lakh and fifty-five thousand rupees were paid. Shortly after the surgery, vomiting and other health problems occurred. Within four hours of arriving home, the problems worsened, and got admitted again on the same day.
I was later discharged on July 2. With tubes inside my nose, I was not allowed to eat or drink water for so many days. Due to defects in surgery, there was gas trouble in six places inside the intestine. Without my permission, they performed surgery on my bowel and abdomen again. I returned from the hospital on July 3.
But my private part looked horrible. It looked ripped and stitched disproportionately. I have heard about surgeries creating perfect private parts. I went there hearing that this doctor was an expert. The pads need to be changed eight to twelve times a day due to continuous fluid discharge. I was also unable to hold urine. It passed through different tracts. When approached the doctor with a complaint, the hospital authorities failed to give a proper reply.
Later, I complained to the police, noticing irregularities in the bill. Some men have to live with the scars on the chest forever from very bad mastectomy surgery. Ninety-eight percent of people are like that. But are afraid to open up.
My private part looks like a lump of chopped fresh meat. Strong action should be taken against him. When I told him about this, he said that he would learn and perform the surgery once again. Under what conditions should I give in for another surgery? I have scars all over my stomach. I got to the toilet four or five times a day due to intestinal problems.
The world should know that such an atrocity has happened in Kerala, which is considered a role model for Trans people in other states. When I spoke to the health minister, she gave up, saying, "Let's see, let's talk to the doctors." Had KK Shailaja been the health minister, immediate action would have been initiated.