A transgender couple have received death threats after they announced their engagement on social media.
Aarav Appukuttan and Sukanyeah Krishnan, who live in the south India state of Kerala, met in their doctor’s clinic while they were both transitioning.
Three years later, in April of this year, Aarav proposed – and Sukanyeah said yes.
In the same month, the Indian government told its states to view trans people as equal and allow them to use any public toilet they choose “without any embarrassment.”
Three years ago, the Indian Supreme Court granted ‘third gender’ status to trans people, and endorsed people’s right to determine the gender they identify with.
Like any other couple would after an engagement, the two shared their happiness with the world on Facebook.
The backlash was swift.
Sukanyeah said: “Since our love story has gone viral on social media, we both have been getting death threats online from unknown users,” according to Indian news site mid-day.
“So far, I have got seven death threats from unknown Facebook users.”
She did not take this lying down, hitting back at these anonymous cowards.
“I replied to them, asking why don’t they have the guts to post such abuse from their real accounts, instead of hiding behind fake accounts, but they didn’t respond to that,” she said.
Someone even called Sukanyeah’s mobile a few days ago, and told her: “Whatever you are doing is wrong.
“If you give an interview on TV or to any other media, we will see to it.”
The couple has registered a complaint with the local police.
Aarav said: “There are many people who are against us.
“They don’t like what we are doing, because of which we are receiving abusive messages on social media.
He said abusers “have attacked us in such deplorable language that I can’t even repeat the words.”
But there was a small upside, he added.
“There are others like us, who want to change their gender.
“Some people had been misguiding them.
“We started giving them the correct information and guiding them on the correct way to go about it.”
This outreach has only fuelled the threats and abuse, but at least the pair’s relationship has survived.
Aarav said that after they met in the doctor’s office, “we cultivated a deep friendship and were there for each other through out respective journey,” according to the Express.
He said he was unsure about whether to propose.
“I was hesitant given the huge age difference between us. But she said yes and we will be married next month.
“Since normal conception is not possible, we plan to adopt a child and build a family.”
Sukanyeah said: “I don’t think the age difference is a lot.
“Aarav is a very sweet man and has always been there for me through all the ups and downs.
“We both need each other and I hope I can am very excited to spend the rest of my life with him,” she added.
“We bond because our journeys have been so similar. His transition is mostly complete, I only have a few procedures left.
“We are about to be married and I am very excited to begin our life together.”