'Lost a Leader': Remembering Kerala's Transwoman RJ Who Died By Suicide

Anannyah's friends allege that medical negligence from sex reassignment surgery pushed her to take her own life.

3 min read

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

Video Producer: Mythreyee Ramesh

Friends remember Kerala's first transwoman radio jockey Anannyah Kumari Alex as a warm and compassionate person, who loved everyone and strongly believed in equal rights. She wanted to become a voice of the community, she wanted to represent the transgender community in the state Legislative Assembly.

Anannyah's dreams will remain just that. On 20 July, the trans rights activist died by suicide.

Her family and friends allege that medical negligence from sex reassignment surgery pushed Anannyah to take her own life.

"Anannyah was a brave soul. For me, she was the most talented, if I can say, multi-talented transgender individual. She fought bravely for her space and identity in Kerala."
Prijith P K, Queer Rights Activist told The Quint

The 28-year-old made her debut in politics when she contested from the Vengara constituency in the Malappuram district of Kerala. She is Kerala’s first transgender radio jockey who hails from Peruman in Kollam district of Kerala. She was a professional makeup artist and a news anchor employed at a private channel as well.

"She was a brave and energetic person. It's very rare that this kind of a person from the community overcomes all barriers and is successful. So, I should say she was a very brave person... and a role model for many transgender people."
Manu Karthika, Amigos Transmen Collective

"She fought for things which affected her own life and issues affecting trans people. So, she is a warrior. Really, she is a warrior," her friend Sreemayi said.

'She Was Neglected By Doctors After Surgery'

Anannyah's family has lodged a complaint with the chief minister, seeking an inquiry into the death. The investigation is underway and the police are waiting for the postmortem report.

"She got discharged and I stayed with her for 35 days at home (Kollam). Then I went back after 10 days to Thiruvananthapuram. She couldn't speak frankly with us but she talked to her friends. When I saw her in pain I suggested we visit some other doctor. She said we can't and should meet the same doctor. When we called up the doctor he kept giving us excuses and disregarded our request."
Alex, Anannyah's Father to The Quint

"She always said that it was a failure and that she was not satisfied with the surgery. And recently, we met at a programme where she told me that she was going to go for another surgery in a different hospital because she was not satisfied," Sreemayi of the Oasis Transgender Cultural Society added.

Before her death, Anannyah had told an online platform The Cur that she was in 'severe discomfort' after the surgery.

“Even when I stand for a longer time, sneeze, laugh or even brush my teeth, I have severe discomfort. I have also been experiencing breathing difficulties. I had wished for a sex reassignment surgery that will give me a vagina like a woman’s...but my private part looks as if it has been cut ruthlessly with a knife. It cannot be called a vagina.. It is a surgery that is conducted very neatly and cleanly in India and elsewhere. I’m standing before you as a victim of gross medical negligence,” she said.


'Need to Regulate Sex Reassignment Surgery'

Queer rights activists and members of the community in Kerala are stressing on the need for intervention and regulation of sex reassignment surgery by the state government.

"We have to frame guidelines first. Secondly, we need to monitor the system. The entire medical interventions that's happening in transgender individuals. Third, we need to give a comprehensive mental and physical health support by the state government."
Prijith P K, Queer Rights Activist

"Surgeries should be performed by specialised persons and specialised doctors. If there is no specialist, then please don't do it. We are also human beings. We have the right and our basic human rights are being violated. So please let surgeries be performed by specialists only," Sreemayi said.

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