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'Death Isn't A Choice, But It Seems Better than My Life': Why A Karnataka Trans Woman is Seeking Euthanasia

By: Rohini Swamy

News18.com

Last Updated: August 27, 2022, 17:39 IST

Bangalore, India

Though she has a few friends in the trans community who help her, Rihana says that it's the financial helplessness and lack of dignity for people like her that has got her morale destroyed. (Representative image/Shutterstock)

Though she has a few friends in the trans community who help her, Rihana says that it's the financial helplessness and lack of dignity for people like her that has got her morale destroyed. (Representative image/Shutterstock)

Rihana Irfan told News18 that her decision to seek mercy killing came after several failed attempts to find herself a government shelter where she could live her life with 'dignity'

Rihana Irfan, a trans woman from Karnataka’s Madikeri, may seem strong from the outside, but inside she is broken. Cast out by society, the 29-year-old is so dejected with life that she has sought permission for “euthanasia".

Her decision to seek mercy killing came after several failed attempts to find herself a government shelter where she could live her life with “dignity", says Rihana to News18.

“Two weeks ago, I wrote to the authorities to fix the date of euthanasia as I am unable to bear the mental suffering and humiliation," Rihana said. “I had petitioned the local district administration several times to help me. All I had sought was a place in a government shelter where I could stay and earn my living with dignity. I went to them more than five times. Each time I was insulted and turned away. I live hand to mouth literally and I have to work every single day even if I am unwell. That is when I decided that I had had enough of this life and sent in my application for euthanasia. This too was rejected by the officer."

On one occasion, Rihana met a senior officer and broke down while explaining her plight, saying she had no option but to end her life.

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“The officer asked me to go ahead. That was the time I felt shattered and came out crying. I do not wish to die. But my circumstances have become such that death seems better. As the media has picked up my story, I am slightly hopeful," the Karnataka resident said.

Rihana travels 25 kilometres daily from Kushalnagar, where she has been offered a place in a lodge, to Madikeri just to beg and earn a paltry sum that will help her sustain the day.

“I want to live with dignity. I am ready to work. I believe that I should work and live with my head held high. I have studied up to 10+2 and could not continue my studies. I am sure that any work I take up, I will do it with utmost sincerity. But who gives a trans woman a job today?" she said, recalling her early life in Kerala’s Kozhikode, where she originally hails from.

Rihana moved to Bengaluru eight years ago and underwent sex reassignment surgery. She moved with the trans community from Bengaluru to Mysuru to Madikeri. Though she has a few friends in the trans community who help her, Rihana says that it’s the financial helplessness and lack of dignity for people like her that has got her morale destroyed.

“When I first came to Madikeri, I was given a rental place to stay. But the house owner was forced to move me out by the neighbours who complained about me and how I would spoil the name of the neighbourhood. I have moved more than 5 to 6 houses and can’t stay in one for more than a few months. In the last house I lived in, the rear portion came crashing down. Now I am forced to stay in a hotel in Kushalnagar," she explained.

On average, though she earns around Rs 800 to 1,000 a day, most of the money goes towards the lodge rentals and she is forced to survive with the remaining paltry sum.

Despite her agitated state of mind, Rihana tries to maintain a composed exterior while speaking about her disturbing situation. The trans woman also makes it a point to say that she has opted for euthanasia not because it is a choice, but because of absolute despair and dejection.

Disclaimer:This news piece may be triggering. If you or someone you know needs help, call any of these helplines: Aasra (Mumbai) 022-27546669, Sneha (Chennai) 044-24640050, Sumaitri (Delhi) 011-23389090, Cooj (Goa) 0832- 2252525, Jeevan (Jamshedpur) 065-76453841, Pratheeksha (Kochi) 048-42448830, Maithri (Kochi) 0484-2540530, Roshni (Hyderabad) 040-66202000, Lifeline 033-64643267 (Kolkata)

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first published:August 27, 2022, 09:00 IST
last updated:August 27, 2022, 17:39 IST