[AI] Eunuch from India fights for respect at UN AIDS meets

Rajesh Asudani rajeshasudani at rbi.org.in
Fri Jun 13 00:35:13 EDT 2008


Today again, I  submit this news item for your perusal and wonder whether this sort of state ought not to qualify as disability and whether the world has not unduly discriminated against eunuchs in an unhuman ways!! I have been perturbed by these facts ffor long and do sincerely  favor  theoritical studies as well as practical measures to end such an anamolous position which may be compared with cruelities like sati etc.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 (United Nations)
An Indian eunuch Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is fighting for the rights and respect of the global transgender community during the ongoing United Nations high
level meeting on AIDS.

After meeting a large number of ambassadors, diplomats, world leaders and social activists who from all over the world have gathered at the United Nations
headquarters in New York for the HIV/ AIDS meet, Tripathi told NDTV.Com in an interview that she is here to fight for transgender community, who have been
deprived of their basic rights and are not being treated as human being.

''I am raising the main issues of sex workers and sexual minorities who are treated with total disrespect. I am trying to bring the attention of the whole
world to the issue of sexual minority,'' Tripathi said. ''I want that people should be more humane, they should consider each other as human being, and
to respect them just to consider them as transgender,'' she said.

Born in an orthodox Brahmin family in 1979, Tripathi has the distinction of being the only eunuch in the UN's Civil Society Task Force on HIV/AIDS. In fact
a UN event on HIV/AIDS has included transgender persons in the work of civil society caucus for the first time: a development greeted with cheers among
eunuchs worldwide.

''The fact that I'm here should be a big achievement, but it amounts to nothing,'' she said during a press conference at the UN headquarters media briefing

Sitting on the same chair, which is very often occupied by visiting heads of states and the UN Secretary General himself, Tripathi asked correspondents:
''Am I invisible? You all can see me. Then, why we the transgender are treated as invisible?''

Speaking flawless English to the surprise of many UN correspondents, Tripathi explained that throughout the global South, especially in countries where
transgender persons were also part of an ethnic group, sexual minorities were forced to beg for basic services and health care or forced into sex work
because there was no political will to recognise their fundamental rights.

''Health services for people suffering from HIV AIDS are out of the question because doctors don't want to touch you,'' she said.

Observing that transgender people are very often threatened with stoning and death, Tripathi said that transgender communities are often afraid to assert
their rights because they know that authorities would not back them up. ''It is now up to the UN to wake people up so that we are recognised as human beings,''
she said.

''This is a mission, which I want to accomplish,'' Tripathi told NDTV.Com after the press conference. ''Governments are treating us like shits. We can't
let this happen anymore,'' she said.

Running an NGO called Astitva in Mumbai for the welfare of sexual minorities, Tripathi alleged that be it in the developed or the developing countries or
the underdeveloped world, sexual minorities are not taken into consideration at all.

Observing that the condition of her community worldwide is pathetic, Tripathi said: ''They have no human rights, no right to education and no right for
employment. If you do not have education, you do not have capacity to work or set up a business.''

Tripathi has been the centre of attraction during the UN meet. Standing five feet and eleven inches above ground and wearing colorful saree with glittering
jewellery, she always caught people's attention as she moved around the UN building.

''Even simple thing like access to medicine is big thing for us. Doctors are not ready to touch you,'' she said. This is not only in India, and under developed
and developing countries but also in developed countries, she argued.

''Governments have no interest for them, the politicians do not want to please them,'' said Tripathi, who has made several passionate speeches during the
UN meeting on the same lines.

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