Trans woman who bravely fought for representation by running for election dies by suicide
A transgender woman who had fought for representation by running in local elections in India has died by suicide in front of her house. Warning – descriptions of suicide.
K Sneha stood as an independent candidate for ward number 36 of local body the Kannur Municipal Corporation, attracting widespread media attention as the sole trans candidate.
She was a social activist who spoke loudly for the advancement of trans rights in India. Sneha also fought for better living conditions and for improvements to the infrastructure of her community.
According to reports, Sneha died on Tuesday night (9 February). Police said the primary investigation concluded Sneha’s death as a suicide, and more details would be revealed after further investigation.
The New Indian Express reported that eyewitnesses saw Sneha leave her house at 10pm on Tuesday, shortly before she died outside of it. According to the article, Edkkah police said her death was linked to family issues.
Sneha lived with her husband Rajesh and parents Suleiman and Kochamma. She worked in catering and was a member of the transgender Kudumbashree unit.
K Sneha was hopeful for change.
Sneha told The Hindu in November that she saw her candidacy as an opportunity to work closely with the local people and improve the situation in their ward. She said candidates representing political parties “have ignored the region for long”.
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“This prompted me to enter the fray,” she said at the time.
Sneha described how the ward residents lived in unhygienic conditions, there were no proper drainage systems and the roads were decrepit. She said that after undergoing gender affirmation surgery in 2019, she felt more confident in herself. Sneha said she had put off the surgery for so long because of years of social neglect and stigma.
She said: “I feel more confident now, and I am sure that people will accept me and give me an opportunity to serve them.
“It is a beginning, and my effort to serve people will continue whether I win or not.”
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.