Press Esc to close

EC's decision comes as big reprieve for eunuchs

Last updated: 22 November, 2009
New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) 10:59 IST

The formal recognition to transsexuals by the Election Commission (EC) as a special category has brought a big relief for the six million-strong community which had to compromise with its identity while exercising its right to franchise for the past 52 years.


"The EC's recent decision to formally recognise transsexuals and eunuchs as 'others' on electoral list and voter ID cards is a step forward as it has given us the basic right to vote with our own separate identity," says prominent eunuch activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.

Laxmi, a transsexual and founder of the campaign group Astitva, said, "This is the sign of maturity of our democracy. Now it is moving ahead in the direction of extending the constitutional and fundamental rights to each and every citizens of the country."

Ashok Row Kovi, who works with sexual minority groups at the UNAIDS office here, believes this was long overdue. "It was a much awaited decision. Ideally, it should have happened a long time ago. The transsexuals very well deserve equal stand and rights in the country among other citizens."

"It's good that diversities are also being accepted in our society now. This decision will also strengthen the cause of homosexuals," said Kovi who also heads Humsafar Trust.

Agreeing with him, Queer right activist Monish Kabir Malhotra said, "This is a very positive step for the community who have been on the fringes of society, ostracised and excluded. It will also help in breaking some more barriers in our society."

"But this is not enough. The government should extend this facility to every form where there is a need to identify the gender," Malhotra said.

Laxmi, who has been struggling for the uplift of the community, said, "As government allocates funds for the development of children and women, it should also provide some money for the re-establishment and rehabilitation of our community."

"We should also be given preferences and reservation in government jobs," said the activist-cum-celebrity who was invited in reality shows like Salman Khan-hosted 'Dus Ka Dum' and Rajeev Khandelval-anchored 'Sach Ka Saamna'.

Earlier, in the electoral rolls prepared by the EC, the eunuchs were registered either as male or as female and those who were unwilling to identify their gender as male or female had to abstain in elections.

However, they could write "E" for eunuch on passports and on certain government forms, but had failed in their campaign for acceptance at the ballot box.

Another queer right activist Leslie Esteves feels that the recent step will give some self respect to the transsexuals and they will learn to adjust to the mainstream with confidence.

Describing the pathetic condition of the minority community, Kovi said, "We never see a transsexual child, why? Not because they don't exist, but because they are not accepted in the society."

"Even their own families disown them, schools refuse to admit them and they are forced to run away," he said, adding, "This neglect and mistreatment lead to their marginalisation and criminalisation."

At our Trust, we try to help them by pursuing their parents not to disown them and empathies with them, he added.

Malhotra appealed to the society to give them a fair chance to lead a respectful life as they are also human beings.

"If Laxmi Tripathi, being a transsexual, is a celebrity, then others can also lead a good life if they receive support and encouragement from the government and society," Malhotra said.

EC's step will also help in determining the actual population of this community, Kovi said.
"At present, we only have a speculative number of the community which is a big hurdle in the way of implementing any welfare programme for transgenders. For example, National AIDS Control Organisation is running a programme for them but they are facing problems due to the non-availability of actual data," he said.

He said the EC's decision will also make an affirmative atmosphere for the implementation of Delhi High Court's order of decriminalising homosexuality by amending Article 377.

Go to Top

More from this section
Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
A child disguised as PM Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJP's success in the state...

A child disguised as PM Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJP's success in the state...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJPs success in Himachal and Gujarat...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJPs success in Himachal and Gujarat...

Newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrives for the winter session of Parliament, in...

Newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrives for the winter session of Parliament, in...

BJP President Amit Shah gestures while being welcomed on his arrival at the party headquarters in...

BJP President Amit Shah gestures while being welcomed on his arrival at the party headquarters in...

Karnataka BJP BS Yeddyurappa flashes victory sign along with the party members to celebrate the...

Karnataka BJP BS Yeddyurappa flashes victory sign along with the party members to celebrate the...

Army personnel paying tributes to the mortal remains of Sepoy Koushal Singh during his last...

Army personnel paying tributes to the mortal remains of Sepoy Koushal Singh during his last...

Policemen and rescue workers inspect the debris at a damaged site after a fire broke out...

Policemen and rescue workers inspect the debris at a damaged site after a fire broke out...

Actors Arbaaz Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Tiger Shroff at the launch of Super Fight League...

Actors Arbaaz Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Tiger Shroff at the launch of Super Fight League...

Karnataka cricketer Karun Nair celebrates his century in the Ranji Trophy semi-final match...

Karnataka cricketer Karun Nair celebrates his century in the Ranji Trophy semi-final match...

Female giant panda cub Xiang Xiang sits on a tree during a press preview at the Ueno Zoological...

Female giant panda cub Xiang Xiang sits on a tree during a press preview at the Ueno Zoological...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.