Indian voters allowed ‘third gender’ option

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

The Electoral Commission of India decided to give recognition on voter forms to those who see themselves as neither male or female.

Some trans people, known as eunuchs or hijiras in the country, had abstained from voting because they did not have a box to tick.

India allows people to select ‘E’ for eunuch on passports and some government forms but the move gives them legal recognition on electoral forms.

They will now be able to choose ‘other’ as their gender when voting.

India is thought to have around one million hijiras. Although they were traditionally surrounded by superstition and myth from their role of guarding the emperor’s wives, modern society has been less tolerant of them.

Many are shunned by their families and struggle to obtain conventional jobs, instead turning to begging and prostitution to earn a living.