Excerpt from CNN.com
In what is believed to be a world first, Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics is giving official recognition to gay and transgender people — a move seen as major victory for equality in a country that only decriminalized homosexual relationships three years ago.
Among those happy to stand up and be counted in the third gender category is Dilu Buduja, 35. “I was born as a girl, but as I grew up I felt I was a boy. Today I totally feel like a man,” he said.
A spokesman for the statistics bureau, Bikash Bista, said the new categorization was an attempt to open up the traditionally conservative country up to different points of view.
But the state’s recognition of the rights of gender minorities, gays and lesbians has not come without a fight.
“We had to put in a lot of pressure to have the third gender counted in the census,” said gender minority rights activist Sunil Babu Pant.
“It was only after we said that we would go to court that the officials agreed to include the third gender as a category.”
If the case had gone to court, it would likely have been upheld thanks to a landmark 2007 Supreme Court ruling that directed the state to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and decriminalize “unnatural sex.”
It also decreed the issue of citizenship certificates that clearly indicate an individual’s choice of gender identity.