Gay Nepalese MP starts petition against Facebook

Sunil Babu Pant gathers signatures for 'third gender' option on social networking site

Gay Nepalese MP starts petition against Facebook
07 April 2012

Nepalese member of parliament and LGBT campaigner Sunil Babu Pant has started a petition to make Facebook a more inclusive place for transgender and gender variant people.

The All Out campaign calls on Facebook to change the current profile settings and add an additional 'third gender' for  members whose gender identity doesn't fit within simple male or female checkboxes.

Pant, the founder and director of Blue Diamond, Nepal's first LGBTI rights organisation, feels so strongly towards this issue that he has closed his Facebook account until the social networking site's CEO Mark Zuckerberg agrees to meet with him.

Facebook currently refuses to recognize other identities saying "people can already opt out of showing their sex on their profile".

However, by not offering any gender variant options, Facebook actually violates its own policies that state: 'Fake names and false identities are actually a violation of the Terms of Use'. As there is no option for legally recognised third gender people, they are forced to choose a false online identity.

Pant previously wrote an open letter to Zuckerberg, accusing him of marginalising members who don't identify as male or female: 'People who do not identify as male or female continue to be sidelined by Facebook’s options. As you allow users to identify only as male or female, many in the LGBTI community feel as if they are hidden on the site, unable to identify as their true selves.'

Nepal's government recently joined India, Pakistan and Australia in legally recognising third gender identities. 

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