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

Subramani L lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in
Mon Jun 16 02:13:47 EDT 2008

Bracketing them with persons with disability will hardly solve their
problems and is likely to increase confusions  about their identity. As
someone who has interacted with them as part of my writing assignments,
I feel they need to be recognised as a separate group with special
rights and rehab programmes. When you compare them with persons with
disability, you would realise that they aren't even been given the kind
of opportunities we are getting, which is pathetic. This is one more
reason why they can't be clubbed with us.


-----Original Message-----
From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
[mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Rajesh
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 10:05 AM
To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
Subject: [AI] Eunuch from India fights for respect at UN AIDS meets


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
''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
because there was no political will to recognise their fundamental

''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
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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