India's transsexuals and eunuchs have won a hard-fought campaign to be formally recognized as "others" on electoral ballots and voter ID cards, the Agence France Presse reported.

The new category will enable them to be distinct from males and females.

The Election Commission said it had received input on the subject from a diverse group of individuals and interest groups, the AFP reported.

"The inclusion of eunuchs and transgenders as 'others' gives us a separate identity which is what we have always wanted," Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a prominent eunuch activist and founder of campaign group Astitva, told AFP, calling it "a sign of a true democracy."

Before this ruling, the 500,000 eunuchs in India had to choose between "male" or "female" when identifying themselves on election ballots.

Eunuchs, castrated men, encompass the hermaphrodite, transvestite and transsexual communities.