In Kerala, botched gender affirmation surgeries leave a trail of trauma

The state, the first to provide financial assistance for trans people to undergo sex reassignment, is seeing a high failure rate of such surgeries.

Trigger warning: Parts of this story are graphic.

Praveen Nath was born a female, but from early on in life identified as a male. Raised in Nemmara town of Kerala’s Palakkad district, he was passionate about bodybuilding. His dream to be an ace bodybuilder came true in April 2021, when he won the Mr Thrissur competition in the transgender category, created for the first time by the Kerala State Body Building Association. Four months on, he went on to win the Mr Kerala title, in the same category. 

A few months later, though, Praveen slipped into depression, brought on by …


Rejimon Kuttappan

Rejimon Kuttappan is an independent journalist and the author of Undocumented: Stories of Indian Migrants in the Arab Gulf (Penguin, November 2021).