KOCHI: Sradha, 21, a transgender person, allegedly ended her life on September 29 at her rented house here due to mental stress and social discrimination that she endured over the years. In July, transwoman and activist Ananya Kumari Alex died by suicide after her sex reassignment surgery allegedly went wrong. Last year, Diya Dileep, a transwoman from Thiruvananthapuram, killed herself due to mental stress.
There has been an alarming spike in the number of suicides by transgender persons in the state. Between now and last year, seven of them ended their life. Of them, four suicides were reported this year, all in Kochi. While financial issues due to the Covid pandemic outbreak are being cited as the main reason for the suicides, the discrimination that transgender persons face also plays a role. “Society may not understand the trauma and pain that members of the transgender community are facing.
Such persons feel the same emotions as those from other genders. At times, they suffer from greater anxiety and depression. As most of them live a lonely life, even the smallest of reasons is enough to drive them to suicide. Those who take hormonal treatments are mainly at risk of losing self-control,” said Syama S Prabha, project officer at the transgender cell of the Social Justice department.
A transgender person who did not want to be named said in Kerala, things had changed a lot in the past 10 years for them. However, the pandemic made their life difficult. “Many of us have worked in different sectors. Some completely left flesh trade. However, we lost our jobs due to Covid. Though we are ready to do any work, the situation does not permit us to do it. If we can’t find money for our surgery, what is the point of living? We don’t even have support from our families. So, some of us are forced to take the extreme step,” said the transgender person.
Members of the community also alleged that several suicides were going unreported. “Government rules stipulate that a person who has completed sex re-assignment surgery will be considered a transgender. However, there are many who are struggling to change their gender. Though they are transgenders too, their names would be included in the normal category if they end their life. The government should help us,” said another member of the community.
(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 02225521111, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.)