UN congratulates Nepal for recognizing third gender

Belated letter from the UN congratulates the government of Nepal for allowing citizens to describe their gender as ‘other’ on official documents

UN congratulates Nepal for recognizing third gender
28 September 2012

A Nepalese LGBT rights activist has received congratulations from the UN about his efforts towards third gender recognition in the Himalayan nation.

In May the Nepalese government agreed to recognize a third gender on ID cards, after a campaign by Sunil Babu Pant.

The late congratulations letter from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at the UN reads:

‘It has taken a long time to open people’s minds to the idea that not all of humanity can be fitted neatly into a binary definition of gender. Refusing to reflect in official documents the preferred gender of those who do not identify as male or female, or whose own sense of gender does not correspond with the sex assigned to them at birth, has succeeded only in marginalizing the individuals concerns and exposed them to violence and discrimination.’

The progression in Nepal follows similar developments in Australia, New Zealand, India and Pakistan, the letter written on behalf of high commissioner Navanethem Pillay says.

The letter ends with personal congratulations for Pant and his fellow activists, concluding:

‘It is a significant victory not only for the transgender and interest community in Nepal by for the broader human rights movement.’

Pant commented:

‘This is fantastic that OHCHR has taken this matter up seriously. Hope other governments will recognize their citizens who do not identify themselves as male or female. And embassies, immigrations and boarder security systems will respect "other" genders when they travel.’

The activist added that he hoped the government would not delay the issuing of ID cards with an ‘other’ option under gender.  

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