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Sexual minorities in solidarity with Santhi
December 19, 2006 15:50 IST
"We express full solidarity with her. This should be an eye-opener to the humanitarian discriminations faced by people with ambiguous gender," Tamil Nadu Aravanies (trans-genders) Association president P Asha Bharati said.
"Santhi, they say, does not have the full sexual characteristics of a woman. But she has done for this country what millions of normal men and women could not achieve," she said.
Santhi had proved that sexual minorities are not inferior to others but is still being punished for no fault of hers, she added.
"If at all sexual minorities want to participate in such events, is there a category for them? This is just one face of the social exclusiveness that we face throughout our life," Bharati said.
Sunil Menon of 'Sahodaran', a gay rights group in Chennai, also demanded that rules of such events be changed to accommodate those with ambiguous gender.
"As per reports, Santhi was denied a job by the Railway Board. Doesn't she have the right to live, to earn a livelihood," Bharati argued.
"Santhi has to support her poor parents who are labourers in a brick kiln. Is it fair to deny her a job just because she does not have the complete characteristics of a woman?"
The sexual minorities face a lot of human rights violations, she said, adding they did not get ration cards, voting rights or passports.
Also, the Indian Penal Code's section 377 on 'unnatural sex' denies them their basic right, Bharati said.
They are denied jobs both in the government as well as private sector, Menon said.
He, however, lauded Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who went ahead with rewarding Santhi with Rs 15 lakh and a television set despite the controversy.
"This is a recognition of the capabilities of the athlete who has achieved great heights despite all odds," he added.
The Indian Olympic Association had on Monday said that Santhi had failed the gender test and would be stripped of her 800 metres silver medal she won at Doha.
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