Andddd, Nepal gives it’s third gender an identity
The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is located in the Himalayan ranges to the north east of India. With a population of approximately 27 million, Nepal is the 41st most populous country in the world. Economically, Nepal is an underdeveloped country. Nepal’s economic growth has been adversely affected by the political instability in the country. However, in 2012, the GDP of Nepal grew to 5% from 3.5% in 2011.
According to the United Nations, Nepal now stands on the roads of achieving the Millennium Development Goals set up by the United Nations. For this blog post, I came across a very interesting story related to the gender equality and eradication of HIV/AIDS in Nepal.
The current census in Nepal officially recognized the third sex making it the only country in South Asia to do so. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal passed a law in order to secure the rights of the members of the sexual minorities. A new category was added to the citizenship documentation in order to allow the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities of Nepal access a range of health and legal services. These documents work as national identity papers and can be used to open a bank account, purchase property, accept employment or apply for a passport.
Nepal being a country where traditions influence society, alternate sexual orientations and gender minorities were not easily accepted. Even today, a large part of society in Nepal does not accept these alternate sexualities. This, however, is slowly changing. Initially, because of a stigma in society, transgenders generally considered prostitution as a career. This led to a rise of cases of HIV/AIDS among these transgenders. The Blue Diamond Society, an NGO set up in Nepal, works for the upliftment of the sexual and gender minorities. According to the Blue Diamond Society’s estimates, around 500,000 people are a part of the sexual minorities in Nepal, 6000 of which are living with HIV/AIDS.
The United Nations in Nepal is partnering with organizations like the Blue Diamond Society and fighting for the legal and social recognition of the sexual and gender minorities of Nepal. The recognition of the gender minorities in Nepal’s current census is a huge success owing to the efforts of the United Nations and Nepali NGOs like the Blue Diamond Society. In a conservative society like Nepal, legal recognition, if not protection, to oppressed communities like the gender minorities is the first step to social acceptance. In a country where HIV/AIDS is a huge menace, this is a small but noteworthy step taken towards it’s eradication. Apart from the concern of HIV/AIDS, this is a triumph with respect to the betterment of human rights in Nepal.