Kathmandu - Gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenderpeople in Nepal welcomed a decision Thursday by the government to recognize them as a third gender, or "other," on citizenship identification cards.
Their gender would be listed as "other" on the cards. Previously,the options of male and female had only been available.
"The Supreme Court had passed a verdict directing the government to issue citizenship cards to the third gender in 2007, but it is finally being implemented," said Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal's firstopenly gay lawmaker.
The Home Ministry said the decision would take a couple of weeks to come into effect.
"Our community feels we are finally being granted an identity by the state, and my friends have told me they feel proud about it,"said Pant, who is also the president of the Blue Diamond Society, an advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenderpeople.
Members of the community has complained of discrimination -including problems in winning admission to colleges, applying for jobs, opening bank accounts and applying for travel permits - because their appearance and the gender indicated in their legal documents do not match.
"Getting an identification will solve 50 per cent of ourproblems," Pant said. "It will also help find the correct figures onthe number of third gender in Nepal, so the government can address the problems facing this community."//DPA