Tag Archives: third gender

Landmark ruling for transgender rights in India

India’s top court on April 15 issued a landmark verdict recognizing transgender rights as human rights, saying people can identify themselves as a third gender on official documents.

Also, the Supreme Court directed the federal and state governments to include transgender people in all welfare programs for the poor, including education, health care and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges.

The decision was praised as giving relief to the estimated 3 million Indians who are transgender.

The court noted that it was the right of every human being to choose their gender while granting rights to those who identify themselves as neither male nor female.

“All documents will now have a third category marked ‘transgender. This verdict has come as a great relief for all of us. Today I am proud to be an Indian,” said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist who, along with a legal agency, had petitioned the court.

“The spirit of the (Indian) Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender,” the court said in its order.

The court also ordered the government to put in place public awareness campaigns to lessen the social stigma against transgender people.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan told the court that the “recognition of transgender (people) as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue.”

“Transgenders are citizens of this country and are entitled to education and all other rights,” he said.

The court ruled that transgender people would have the same right to adopt children as other Indians.

The court said any person who underwent surgery would be entitled to be legally recognized as belonging to the gender of their choice.

The apex court also ordered state governments to construct separate toilets for transgender people and create health departments to take care of medical matters.

Recently, India’s Election Commission for the first time allowed a third gender choice  “other” on voter registration forms. The change was made in time for the national elections being held in phases through May 12.

Some 28,000 voters registered in that category.

Nepal to issue ‘third gender’ IDs

An official says Nepal’s government will begin issuing citizenship certificates with the category “third gender” for people who do not wish to be identified as male or female.

Activists hailed the decision, saying it was an achievement for LGBT civil rights.

Home Ministry Bhola Siwakot says an order to issue the certificates was sent to all district administration offices.

Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the government should issue “third gender” citizenship certificates but it took five years to implement the decision.

Sunilbabu Pant of the Blue Diamond Society says the simple and clear guidelines for issuing the certificates should make life easier for sexual minorities.

Activists say “third gender” minorities have had difficulty getting jobs or passports, enrolling in schools or owning property without proper citizenship certificates.

Nepal gay lawmaker asks Facebook for third gender

A prominent lawmaker and gay rights activist in Nepal says he has asked Facebook to include a third option for people who do not identify themselves as male or female.

Sunilbabu Pant said he has written to Facebook founders Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes asking an option as “third gender” or “others” when signing up because people who do not identify as male or female continue to be sidelined by Facebook’s options.

He wrote to the Facebook founders, “As you allow users to identify only as male or female, many in the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community feel as if they are hidden on the site, unable to identify as their true selves.”

Pant said he has not received any response from Facebook but was hopeful.

Pant, who has a personal page on Facebook, is the only openly gay parliament member in Nepal and has been campaigning for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Himalayan nation.

Hughes, who is gay, has left Facebook and recently purchased The New Republic. He was the driver of Barack Obama’s social media campaign in the 2008 election.