India's eunuchs demand access to welfare programs

AP News
Posted: Jul 25, 2011 9:47 AM
India's eunuchs demand access to welfare programs

Eunuchs in India are demanding an end to discrimination against them and access to government welfare programs.

The term eunuch is used in India to describe transvestites, transsexuals and others who identify themselves as neither male nor female but as a members of a third gender.

Sobha Haldar, the secretary of a eunuch group, said around 3,000 eunuchs were meeting in Kolkata on Monday to draft a strategy to highlight the poverty, discrimination and sexual abuse faced by them.

The eunuchs are demanding a quota of government jobs, health care and subsidized food.

There are about 700,000 eunuchs living in India. They traditionally survive by begging, dancing at weddings, or blessing newborn babies, and are frequently subjected to discrimination.