Nepal to grant citizenship status to Lesbians & Gays

Nepal will grant citizenship certificates to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community, recognising their sexual orientation for the first time.

Nepal's Home Ministry has issued directives to this effect.

Now third-gender people will have separate head as "others" in their citizenship certificates, according to Home Ministry spokesperson Shankar Koirala.

"We have already issued directives to the Ministry of Law to add the "others" head in all necessary forms, documents and indexes," he said.

The decision to grant citizenship to gays and lesbians with their identity is being implemented over four years after the landmark decision of the Supreme Court to recognise the identity of the third-gender community while granting citizenship certificates.

Welcoming the decision, gay activist and lawmaker Sunil Babu Panta said that the decision will provide the community easy access to health and education facilities as well as employment opportunities.

"Now the discriminatory practices in schools, hospitals and workplaces against third-gender people will end", said Panta.

We have been facing various problems for years due to the lack of our separate identity but now we, all the third-gender people are happy and proud to have received citizenship with our separate identity, said Bhumika Shrestha, another young gay activist.

In the past, many people with different sexual orientation had been deprived from employment opportunity, education and even getting our passports to travel abroad due to the discriminatory practices, which has now ended, she pointed out.

Around 8 to 10 percent of the total population of the country belongs to the third-gender category though, many people have not disclosed their sexual orientation due to discrimination.

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