Nepal to offer ‘third gender’ status

Nepal’s government will begin issuing citizenship certificates with the category “third gender” for people who do not wish to be identified as male or female.

Activists hailed the decision, saying it was an achievement for gay and transgender rights.

Home ministry spokesman Bhola Siwakot yesterday said an order to issue the certificates was sent to all district administration offices. Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the government should issue “third gender” citizenship certificates.

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Sunilbabu Pant of rights group the Blue Diamond Society said the simple and clear guidelines for issuing the certificates should make life easier for sexual minorities, such as in getting passports or owning property.