Friday, June 3, 2011

Nepal recognizes gays and transvestites with a genre census

Kathmandu (Nepal) (Writing / Agencies) .- When the population census takers went door to door visiting 5.6 million households in Nepal this month, collected information not only of men and women in this country, but also the so-called third gender, according to the U.S. television network CNN. In an unprecedented move, the Central Department of Statistics of Nepal is officially recognizing gay and transgendered people, which is perceived as a great victory for equality in a country that decriminalized homosexual relations three years ago.

Among those proud to be considered within the category of the third kind is diluted Buduja, 35 years old. "I was born as a child, but grew up and I felt like a child. Today I feel like a man," he said. Bikash Bista, statistics department spokesman, said the new classification was an attempt to open a traditionally conservative country at different points of view.

But the recognition by the State to gender minorities, gays and lesbians has not come without a fight for it. "We put a lot of pressure for the third gender is considered in the census," said the activist for the rights of gender minorities, Sunil Babu Pant. "Only until we said we would go to court, officials agreed to include the third gender as a category." If the case had gone to court, probably would have prospered thanks to a precedent in 2007 with a resolution of the Supreme Court instructed the government to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and decriminalizing "sex unnatural.

" He also decreed the issuance of certificates of citizenship that clearly indicate the personal choice of gender identity. Citizenship certificates, which serve as identity documents are required in Nepal to open bank accounts, own property, obtain employment and arrange a passport, among other things.

"The court also ordered the government to form a committee to study what kind of laws can be created for marriage or civil union of same sex," said Hari Phuyal, a human rights lawyer who filed the main argument of the case. "The resolution of Nepal of 2007 was an inspiration even for India, which was studied by the Supreme Court of New Delhi when decriminalized sodomy last year," he said.

Pant, the first openly gay legislator in Nepal, described the ruling as "very satisfactory", but said its implementation would be "extremely slow and painful." His assertion is confirmed by the fact that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Nepal still going to instruct the country's 75 administrative districts to issue citizenship certificates to indicate the gender identity.

"The local authorities were unaware of the third kind and were afraid of losing their jobs if they issued this type of citizenship," said Buduja, who last month in the second person in the country which has obtained a citizenship certificate indicating gender. Pradeep Khadka, a member of the group defending the rights of gender minorities Blue Diamond Society, founded by Pant for almost a decade, said the delays in full implementation of resolution 2007 represents a struggle between conservative and liberal forces society of Nepal.

While discrimination continues, there has been progress. The government is also finalizing a list of discriminatory laws should be changed to gender minorities can enjoy the same rights as others, including inheritance rights. Two years ago also formed a committee to make recommendations to the laws governing marriage or civil union of same sex.

"We visited several districts in the country and Norway to share their experiences and use it as a case study," said sociologist Chaitanya Mishra, a member of this committee. According to another member of the committee will recommend the government to legalize marriage between same sex, something unprecedented in South Asia.

"There are 50 or 60 couples waiting to marry the same day that marriage between same sex is legalized," said Buduja, who is among those eager to marry. But according to activists, the reluctance of authorities to issue certificates of citizenship with sexual specification makes that day is still distant.

And without those licenses, many will be reluctant to disclose their sexuality to the census takers. "But this is a very encouraging step forward," Pant said.

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