In May 2016, Surya Abhi was one of the first openly transgender persons in Kerala to cast her vote in an Assembly election. She got a voter ID that identified her as a woman, and was elated with the fact that she could vote as herself, finally.
Two days ago, the same person had to face what she called the saddest incident of her life, when she was attacked in public in Thiruvananthapuram, simply for being there.
In a Facebook post, the cine and serial actor and activist wrote, “I was waiting for a bus at the PMG Junction, when three persons tried to attack me. None of the people who were at the bus stop responded to my cries for help. I screamed, and a police patrol team heard me. But by the time they reached the spot, my attackers had fled the place."
Surya thanked the police officers who dropped her home safely after the incident. But for the people who refused to help her while she was in distress - and for the society at large - she did not have any kind words.
In her emotional post, Surya wrote, “I spit on the ugly society which stood silent when a woman was attacked. If you believe that I'm a sex worker, stop thinking so. I make a living by doing dignified work."
"It is a myth, an old story, that all transgender persons are sex workers. If anyone approaches us with that attitude, they will have to face the music," she added.
Currently at a shooting location, Surya was not available for comment. She conveyed through her friends however that she doesn’t want to speak about the incident as she fears it would affect her work.
While Kerala has been working towards ensuring the rights of transgender persons, incidents such as this one are not uncommon, showing just how far we as a society need to go before all humans are given the respect they deserve.