Attendees of the first pride parade in the capital of Nepal Kathmandu (Photo Queer Youth Group)
At least 1,500 members of the LGBT community in Nepal have changed their gender on official documents.
Following a historic court ruling in 2007, Nepal implemented one of the world’s most progressive gender identity policies in the world.
Nepal prohibited discrimination and allowed self-identification of gender. It also recognized a third ‘other’ gender’.
Pahichan reports about 1,300 people have now chosen to list as Other (O) in the gender section, citing the home affairs ministry.
‘All citizens have right to get citizenship as per their gender identity and citizenship is not provided on the basis of body structure,’ said Ram Krishna Subedi, Spokesperson at Ministry of Home Affairs.
LGBTI life in Nepal
The mountainous South Asian country also legalized gay sex in 2007.
Theoretically, it has laws to protect LGBTI equality. But, local activists have warned, that is not always the case in practice.
Furthermore, many LGBTI Nepalis have rejected the third gender on citizenship documents. This is because it does not guarantee accompanying rights.
For example, Nepalis are unable to get driving licenses with a third gender ID.
‘There has always been a romanticization of Nepal as being one of the more tolerant countries in Asia; however, the ground reality is very different’ organizer of this year’s pride parade Rukshana Kapali said.
A new criminal code enacted in August last year failed to guarantee equal marriage.
Lawmakers last year promised the LGBTI community parliament would continue to discuss and advocate for LGBTI issues.
These included citizenship issues, same-sex marriage, domestic violence, adoption, and access to health and education.