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Kerala Govt Orders Probe into Death of Kerala's First Transgender RJ Anannyah

Anannyah was the first transgender to file nomination papers as a candidate for the Kerala Assembly elections.

Updated
India
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Anannyah Kumari was the first transgender to file nomination papers as a candidate for the Kerala Assembly elections.</p></div>
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Anannyah Kumari Alex, a transwoman activist in Kerala, who was the first from her community to file nomination papers as a candidate for the Kerala Assembly elections this time, was found dead in an apartment in Kochi on Tuesday, 20 July. She is suspected to have died by suicide, police said.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday, ordered to conduct a probe into the death.

The 28-year-old is Kerala’s first transgender radio jockey who hails from Peruman in Kollam district of Kerala. She is also a professional makeup artist and a news and stage show anchor.

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Anannyah's friends have 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.

Alleged Gross Medical Negligence Led to Severe Health Complications

“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.”
Anannyah Kumari Alex to The Cue

Just a few days back, in her interview to The Cue, she had accused the doctors of a Kochi-based private hospital of performing a sex reassignment surgery poorly. She claimed that the surgery in June 2020 was not a success and that the hospital was allegedly denying her treatment records.

“I’m a victim of gross medical negligence. My private part looks like a piece of meat, it has no resemblance to a vagina. I want to conduct re-surgery, I want justice,” she had told the channel, alleging the gross medical negligence has led to health complications.

Health Minister Veena George said in a statement on Wednesday, “A transgender organisation had also given a complaint regarding this. An expert committee will be formed to study issues related to sex reassignment surgery.”

“The money for the surgeries are painstakingly made by many through sex work, pooling from here and there, and even begging. And hospitals even charge more than what had been told before. But after all that, when this is the result people get, what are they supposed to do? Why are marginalised people like us being attacked like this for money?” Anannyah added.

Following pleas from several transgender organisations, Palarivattom Police have stopped all Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) procedures at Renai Medicity until further notice.

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Alleged Abuse in the Midst of a Fight for Equality

In the Assembly elections in April this year, Anannyah had filed nomination papers as a candidate for the Democratic Social Justice Party (DSJP) from the Vengara constituency in Malappuram district. She later decided to withdraw from campaigning for the Assembly election alleging harassment by party members.

“When I brought up this issue with the party president he told me to obey everything that the other members are saying so that I can have a smooth election season. I am complaining of being verbally abused and if I can’t get protection from even the party president, then how can I be safe here?” Anannyah had told The Quint.

She had alleged that after she raised the issue, she was “mentally tortured and received threats” from several leaders of the party.

“Even now as we speak, at least one transgender person is being harassed. I wanted to contest in this election to fight for equality and freedom from discrimination. But how can such a thing happen to a person who is aspiring to be a leader?” she had told The Quint.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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