When Nepal’s Supreme Court in June directed the government to introduce a third category on passports for people who identify themselves neither as male nor female, it handed yet another unopposed victory to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement.
The country best known for Mount Everest and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is fast gaining a reputation as the most gay-friendly nation in Asia as it continues its transition from a Hindu monarchy to a democracy.
LGBT rights first saw the light of the day just days before a parliamentary bill declared Nepal a federal republic, abolishing the Hindu monarchy in December 2007. The Supreme Court at the time called for laws granting equal rights to the LGBT community and for amendments to all laws that are discriminatory. Neither the government nor any social or religious group has challenged the court order to this day.
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