Nepal Becomes The World's First Country To Recognize "Third Gender" On Census Forms
By Noah Michelson
We all know that the U.S. has a long way to go before it's anywhere close to recognizing the rights of LGBT people (and in a lot of cases, just plain recognizing us). It seems we could learn a lot from Nepal, which has become the first country in the world to recognize a "third gender" on their census forms, reports CNN:
"A spokesman for Nepal's Central Bureau of Statistics said the new categorization was an attempt to open up the traditionally conservative country to different points of view.
'We had to put in a lot of pressure to have the third gender counted in the census,' said gender minority rights activist Sunil Babu Pant. 'It was only after we said that we would go to court that the officials agreed to include the third gender as a category.'
If the case had gone to court, it would likely have been upheld thanks to a landmark 2007 Supreme Court ruling that directed the state to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and decriminalize 'unnatural sex.'
It also decreed the issue of citizenship certificates that clearly indicate an individual's choice of gender identity."
Nepal is also taking steps to make same-sex marriage legal:
"Two years ago [the country] formed a committee to make recommendations on legislation governing same-sex marriage or civil union. It is in the final stages of the completing the report.
'We visited several districts in the country and Norway to look at its experience and use it as a case study,' said sociologist Chaitanya Mishra, a member of the recommendation committee.
According to another member of the committee, it will recommend that the government legalize same-sex marriage, which would be a first in South Asia."
Exciting stuff, Nepal. Though, we wonder what some trans people would say about being listed as a "third gender," instead of the gender to which they've transitioned. Perhaps those who want to be listed as a third gender could be, and those who simply want to be known by the gender they transitioned to could be recognized that way?
Photo: Participants in Nepal's first ever Pride Parade in 2010. Courtesy of Getty Images