January 8, 2014 – Reported by Bustle.com – As far as LGBT rights are concerned, Nepal is poised to become one of the region’s more socially liberal countries after authorities announced this week that Nepalese passports will offer a third gender option for sexual minorities. The move is nearly eight years in the making, as a 2007 landmark Supreme Court ruling requiring the government to provide protection of LGBT rights included asking authorities to amend legislation to include a third gender.
Lok Bahadur Thapa, chief of the government’s passport department, told Reuters:
We have changed the passport regulations and will add a third category of gender for those people who do not want to be identified as male or female.
Nepal joins both Australia and New Zealand, who also have a third gender option —indeterminate — marked with an “X” on travel documents, reported the news wire. Nepalese activists say that the move will help combat widespread abuse and discrimination against members of the LGBT community. Pinky Gurung, chief of the Blue Diamond Society, a leading gay rights group, told Reuters that other laws, such as those on inheritance, should also be amended to include the third gender option. As it stands, inheritance rights are only reserved for “sons” or “daughters.” But the passport department’s move is a step in the right direction, it seems, as Gurung said:
It is a very progressive move, and we welcome it….story continues below