A trailblazing Indian trans woman who weathered death threats from politicians and spoke out against the “medical negligence” faced by the trans community was found dead Tuesday (20 June).
Anannyah Kumari Alex is believed to have died by suicide in her apartment in Kochi, Kerala, the Kalamassery Police said. She was 28 years old.
“She was found dead in her apartment on Tuesday evening,” an official told The News Minute. “It is suspected to be a suicide, more details can be told only after conducting post-mortem.”
With pressure from loved ones mounting, the state’s government has launched a high-level probe into Alex’s death.
Just weeks before her passing, Alex spoke out against the “medical negligence” she experienced after undergoing gender-affirming surgery at a private hospital in June 2020.
The botched operation left her suffering from “indescribable” pain, she said in an interview with The Cue.
“Even when I stand for a longer time, sneeze, laugh or even brush my teeth, I have severe discomforts,” she said. “I have also been experiencing breathing difficulties.”
More than a year after the operation, the pain she experienced was so severe she was unable to work.
There is no money,” she said, adding: “I speak boldly because I want to live.”
Anannyah Kumari Alex spoke of how many trans Indians are forced to cobble together the funds for gender-affirming surgery through sex work and begging.
“But after that, when this is the result they get,” she said, “what are they supposed to do?
“Why are marginalised people like us being attacked like this for money?”
“I’m a victim of gross negligence,” she added. “I want justice. I hope you all stand with me.”
After her passing, loved ones and fellow activists lodged a complaint to the chief minister seeking an inquiry into her death.
Health minister Veena George and social justice minister R Bindhu ordered police to conduct a probe Wednesday.
George has demanded medical officials scrutinise Alex’s claims of “medical negligence” and to form an expert panel to look into the standards of gender-affirmation surgeries available in the state.
Anannyah Kumari Alex fought for freedom
Anannyah Kumari Alex was the first trans radio jockey in Kerala, and burst into the state’s tumultuous political scene when she became the first trans person to contest Kerala’s Assembly elections in April.
She sought to oust Indian Union Muslim League leader PK Kunjalikutty, filing her nomination for the Democratic Social Justice Party to represent the Vengara constituency in the Malappuram district.
But she was forced to suspend her historic campaign just a day before the election.
Alex, who was also a freelance fashion stylist and make-up artist, alleged that she had been harassed and sent death threats by members of her own party.
She urged those hitting the ballot boxes not to vote for the Democratic Social Justice Party.
“I will be me,” Anannyah Kumari Alex wrote in a May Facebook post. “I will accept people for who they are, for a person to be themselves and for freedom of expression.
“I will fight for this till death.”