Nepal approves third gender status
After calls to change discriminatory laws by LGBT activists in the country, the Supreme Court of Nepal has approved a third gender status in order to allow trans people to define themselves as neither a man nor a woman, if they wish. People who wish to define themselves as such will be issued a new identity card that specifies their gender identity.
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Up until now, trans people in the country have been denied the right to study, to start their own business or apply for jobs without an identity card labelling them as either male or female. “The LGBTI community will from now onwards be categorized under ‘others’ as per their wish,” declared Shankar Koirala, a spokesperson for the government, quoted in the periodical República.
This came as good news to Sunil Pant, founder of Blue Diamond, an LGBT-rights defense group. After years of work, he says that he is proud of the government’s decision to change the laws that discriminate against the LGBT community, though he cautions that there is still a lot of work to be done. For example, the constitution indicates that only a son or daughter may inherit from their parents. This element must be changed in order to be coherent with the new gender status.
Breaking the silence
Two other bills are in the works, one to address the aforementioned heritage issue, and the other to recognise the right for same-sex couples to marry. These bills also seek to change the constitution in order to protect marginalised groups such as homosexuals.
Homosexuality remains very taboo in the country. Though Nepal has been chastised for its homophobia, since 2006, the situation has rapidly evolved for the LGBT community. There have been public discussions about the issue of same-sex marriage and LGBT events such as Pride are now permitted.
Banner photo: Blue Diamond’s Sunil Pant decodemind.com