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Eunuchs n transsexuals identity in voter rolls of India

Indian election authorities Thursday granted what they called an independent identity to intersex and transsexuals in the country's voter lists.


Before, members of these groups -- loosely called eunuchs in Indian English -- were referred to as male or female in the voter rolls. But now, they will have the choice to tick "O" -- for others -- when indicating their gender in voter forms, the Indian election commission said in a statement.


"Enumerators and booth-level officers (BLOs) shall be instructed to indicate the sex of eunuchs/transsexuals etc as 'O' if they so desire, while undertaking any house-to-house enumeration/verification of any application," a statement from election authorities said. India, home to more than 1 billion people, has 714 million registered voters.



Intersexual people are seen as a marginalized community in India. Many end up begging on the streets, becoming prostitutes or earning their livelihood by dancing at celebrations. In July, an Indian court delivered a landmark ruling legalizing gay sex between consenting partners in the country.


The July verdict meant the law -- Indian penal code section 377, which had previously criminalized consensual homosexual acts between adults -- was partly struck down but remains in place as far as forced homosexual acts are concerned.


It was not clear whether the ruling -- which was later challenged by an astrologer in India's highest court -- would eventually lead to legalization of gay marriages in the country.


CNN, November 12, 2009

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