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The state has seen rising incidents of brutal assault against the transgender community.

From verbal abuse to assault Kerala reeks of trans phobiaImage for representation only/ Courtesy: PTI
news Gender Saturday, February 10, 2018 - 16:28

When Kerala announced its first transgender policy in 2015 it had the whole country look up to the state for its bold move to ensure non-discriminatory treatment towards trans persons. It was a first of its kind to end the societal stigma towards the gender. But all is not well among the community in Kerala. In the past few months, cases of harassment, physical torture and abuse against the community has been on a rise and this raises a question of whether the state’s act of initiating such progressive laws was merely a façade?

Here are some of the incidents from the past few months that show the regressive attitude towards the transgender community that many in Kerala seem to harbour.

On February 8, 2018, a man named Pushparaj harassed a group of trans women who were on their way to the housewarming ceremony of their friend and make-up artist Shivangi in Thiruvananthapuram. The trans women had stopped to ask directions to the man who, after realising that they belong to the transgender community, started hurling abuses at them. Alakananda, Vineetha and Karthika who were shocked at the unexpected rude behaviour called their friends for help. The man also abused the friends, Surya and Sreemayi, who had come to help. The police officers who had been alerted rushed to the spot and arrested the man.

In another shocking incident on February 4, 2018, a trans woman was brutally attacked by a mob in Thiruvananthapuram's Valiyathura, after the local residents accused her of being a man who had come in the disguise of a woman to abduct children. The 27-year-old trans woman clad in a blue salwar was mobbed by a group of men who pulled off her wig, pushed and assaulted her and later tore off her clothes. The incident got widespread attention after the video went viral on social media. Though the police officers rescued the trans woman, no case was registered against the attackers. 

In another incident that occurred on January 12, 2018, three trans women in Malappuram district were attacked by a group. The attack was a sequel to an earlier incident where a trans woman called Liya was beaten and later hospitalised in Malappuram. On January 12, three tarns women including Liya, were beaten and verbally abused by a group of men who also manhandled and threatened to kill the trans women. The incident occurred at a tea shop in Malappuram. The mob also locked the tran women in a room inside the tea shop for about 30 minutes with no ventilation. The trans women had then told media that they did not get help from the police officials during the incident.

On December 27, 2017, two trans women were brutally assaulted in Kozhikode allegedly by police officials who told them that they were better off dead. This case led to much outrage in the state as the accused were police officials themselves. The anger compelled the CM to order a probe into the matter. Mamta Jasmine and Susmitha were walking back home at 2.30am after a dance practice for a cultural programme when they were attacked. The policemen were patrolling near the railway station and SM Street when the incident occurred. Both Jasmine and Susmitha were brutally beaten up and the officers told them that they won’t be allowed to live in peace.

In yet another shocking incident in the state in August 2017, a transgender person was found dead under suspicious circumstances near Aluva town hall in Ernakulam district. The deceased was identified as Gauri from Tamil Nadu and her body was found in the bushes near St Xavier’s college. The police officials had then confirmed that there was a mark around the neck which is usually caused by hanging. After investigation, the officials confirmed that Gauri was strangulated to death by unknown miscreants.

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