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.