Shabnam Mausi is the first eunuch to be elected to India's Legislative Assembly. Eunuchs were granted voting rights in 1994. Shabnam represents Madhya Pradesh's Shahdol district, located in central India. Shabnam attended two years of primary schooling, but speaks 12 languages that she has learnt during her travels. As a member of the Legislative Assembly her agenda includes fighting corruption, unemployment, poverty and hunger in her constituency. Shabnam Mausi also intends to use her position in the Legislative Assembly to speak out against discrimination of eunuchs as well as to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS.
"We brothers and sisters often face stigma and discrimination because of our sexual orientation. Talking openly about AIDS helps us understand each other."
This article was provided by UNAIDS. It is a part of the publication World AIDS Campaign 2001. Visit UNAIDS' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.