General News

Indian woman attempts suicide after transphobic harassment

Rachel Badham October 20, 2020

Shaji posted videos online explaining her experience

Sajana Shaji, a trans woman living in Kochi, Kerala, attempted suicide after claiming to have been harassed and verbally assaulted while working as a food salesperson. According to the New Indian Express, Shaji was harassed by a vendor while selling biryani and subsequently posted a video to social media about her bad experiences. Although she received support from many, some continued to harass her online and make transphobic comments which led to her suicide attempt.

A transgender rights rally in Pakistan

She reportedly overdosed after sharing another video explaining the abuse had pushed her to commit the act, but was found by friends and hospitalised. She is now undergoing private treatment at a hospital in Ernakulam. The incident comes shortly after LGBTQ+ rights group Queerala – based in Kerala – urged the Indian government to do more to protect the country’s queer community, including banning conversion therapy.

LGBTQ+ issues such as transphobia are not commonly acknowledged among Indian politicians; News 18 reported out of 543 MPs in India, only 151 have ever spoken about LGBTQ+ issues throughout their careers. However, the Nationalist Congress Party recently became the first to set up a dedicated LGBTQ+ unit to try and combat the problem.