Passport issued to third gender

KATHMANDU, August 10

Nepal on Monday issued passport to sexual minorities, adding a third-gender category in the passports, for the first time.

Manoj Shahi, a 37-year-old transgender of Lamki Municipality, Kailali, received the passport under category “O” for the first time in Nepal.

Shahi said she preferred to call herself Monica, which is a female name.          “The passport was issued on Monday in the original name of Manoj Shahi. And this is the first evidence that Nepal has issued passport under “O” category.

There are other applicants who have tried to receive passport under this category,” said Lok Bahadur Thapa, director general of the Department of Passport.

The passport holder Manoj Shahi said, “It took four months to receive the passport due to technical difficulties and on Monday I am very happy at having got the passport in my identity. I urge the government to allow same sex marriage to address the rights of individuals like me.”

She claimed that issuance of passport under “O” category was the first evidence in the world and not only in Nepal that a third gender category had become acceptable for passport issuance.  Nepal had so far been issuing passports under only male (codified as M) and Female (codified by F) categories.

A decision was taken early this year to provide passports to all sexual minorities, commonly known as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGTBT) under others (codified as O) category.

Nepal also issues citizenship certificate to all sexual minorities under others or “O” category. Nevertheless, one cannot get category “O” passport by just being a member of the sexual minority. The person must have a citizenship certificate under “O” category prior to applying for the passport under this category.

With this move, Nepal has joined a handful of countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, that recognises the third gender in passports. Australia and New Zealand issue passports to sexual minorities with a gender sign “X”.