Nepal Introduces Gender Category “Other” in Latest Census | New

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A third gender category for citizenship documents was introduced in 2013 and Nepal started issuing passports with the “other” category two years later.

Nepal first introduced a third gender category in its census, a move that the Himalayan nation’s LGBTQ community hopes to bring them more rights.

Officials from the Central Bureau of Statistics have visited homes across the country of 30 million people since Saturday, giving respondents the option to choose “others” as their gender, alongside men and women.

Nepal already has some of South Asia’s most progressive laws on homosexuality and transgender rights, with landmark reforms passed in 2007 banning discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation.

A third gender category for citizenship documents was introduced in 2013 and Nepal started issuing passports with the “other” category two years later.

But gay and transgender Nepalese and rights activists say the LGTBQ community – estimated at 900,000 people – still faces discrimination, especially in the areas of employment, health and education.

LGBTQ activists have said a lack of data has hampered access to the benefits they are entitled to.

“When there is data after the census, we can use it as evidence to lobby for our rights. We can make demands commensurate with the size of our population, ”said Pinky Gurung, president of LGBTQ rights group Blue Diamond Society.

However, in more than 70 census questions there is only one linked to gender and critics said the results would still be limited.

Rukshana Kapali, a transgender woman and activist, who filed a petition to the Supreme Court against the methodology, said the census was “problematic” and “cannot capture real data from the LGBTQ community in Nepal.”

Rights groups have said LGBTQ people have been afraid to identify with themselves in the past as well, but are encouraging them to be more open this time around.

“We count the population with the category ‘others’ as part of our commitments to gender equality,” told AFP news agency Dhundi Raj Lamichhane, director of the population section of the statistics office.

“We have worked with members of LGBTQ organizations this time around and hope to publish a more thoughtful result.”


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