Kerala Government Announces 'Transgender-Friendly' Guidelines For Health Sector

The gaping lacunae in healthcare access for transgender persons in Kerala was brought to light by the tragic demise of transgender activist Anannayah Kumari Alex last month. After a spate of debates on the issue, the state government has announced guidelines to make health departments more inclusive. 

In an announcement made in the state legislative assembly on Tuesday, health minister Veena George spoke of making various provisions including a dedicated transgender ward in all government hospitals in order to serve the community better. Addressing the lack of guidelines about the sex reassignment surgery (SRS) she said an expert committee would soon be formed to formulate them. She said the department will ensure that transgender people are not taken for a ride by private hospitals under these new directives, reiterating the aim of making the health sector in the state transgender friendly. 

Anannyah Kumari Alex (28) was the first trans woman in Kerala to become a radio jockey as well as the first to contest in the assembly elections in the state. She was found hanging in her apartment a couple of weeks ago. She had undergone SRS which she had claimed the hospital botched, giving her excruciating pain and trauma. 

Just five days before her death, she had posted a video on her social media accounts enumerating her struggles over the past year and a half due to postoperative complications. Describing her ordeal due to the alleged medical negligence, Anannyah had told a local news agency that her private part looks like a "piece of meat which has no resemblance to a vagina", demanding justice in the form of a re-surgery. 

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