Why should we care about transgender rights in Nepal, or many of the other countries I occasionally have news from? Two reasons – first and foremost, these folks are out sisters and brothers, and we are part of the same large, multifunctional dysfunctional family. And second, knowing that the tide is rising – or lowering – for our family helps us appreciate what we do have, and take encouragement from the advances across the globe.
In this case, Nepalese transgender persons had hope 6 years ago, when their Supreme Court approved third gender citizenship and ordered the government to enact laws to guarantee the rights of all LGBT persons.
But here’s the rub – they cannot get proper documentation of their new status, and so they have become disenfranchised. From the article:
…the president of a prominent LGBT campaign group in the Himalayan nation estimates that just three out of 200,000 Nepalese transgenders have managed to change their citizenship from male/female to third gender — largely because of official intransigence and prejudice.
In case you’re surprised at that 200,000 number, that would make 1 out of every 137 persons in Nepal transgender, which seems a little bit of a stretch to me. However, it’s very difficult to apply the Western figures of 1 in 300 or so being transgender (and 1 in 7,000 or so being transsexual) to a nation with very different culture and demographics.
Nepal’s transgenders shut out of voting – xinmsn Lifestyle.
There is a gallery of 10 photos from the contest at the link below. But one story which may be both bigger and also more nebulous to report on is that just in the few years I’ve been tracking transgender news, I’ve seen a gradual but persistent improvement in the way in which transgender persons are reported on in Chinese media. Sure, civil rights are still a serious problem in China, especially for transgender persons, but the change sometimes starts with the media and how it treats a marginalized group.
2013 transgender beauty pageant crowned – People’s Daily Online.
I like this article because it highlights something which would have been unthinkable not too long ago in China. I think what Ms. Wong is doing for these women is wonderful, and akin to the sort of thing which the Transgender Institute has organized.
Make-up workshops in Tuen Mun seek to bring out transgender beauty | South China Morning Post.
Courtesy of The Atlantic, an interesting and detailed story on changing opinions on transgender rights in China. This follows up the story I reported on regarding transgender rights in Taiwan, and apparently a catalyst for this new-found positive interest is the social media exposure over the Oklahoma transwoman-transman couple.
Hey, maybe if China can do it, Kansas and Missouri won’t be too far behind…
From the Shadows: China’s Growing Tolerance of Transgender Rights – Jill Levine – The Atlantic.
I have to say, this is an unusual situation – we begin the story with two persons originally of male gender. One of them transitions to female gender, and they apply for marriage – and the marriage is granted. Then the other half of the couple transitions to female, and now we have two transwomen who are married – until the government steps in, and decides that *now* they can no longer be married. Good grief, they’re the same people who loved each other – let them have their marriage!
DPP and MOI clash over transgender marriage – The China Post.