Last month Bikash Bista, the director of Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics, announced that they are going to include a “third gender” category in their upcoming census in May. Transgender and gender non-conforming Nepalese rejoice and welcome the fact that they are now being recognized by their government.
The rights of transgender Nepalese are also one of the topics discussed in my friend Nani Walker’s documentary Other Nature.
No, I am not trying to make you watch my friend’s film but you should catch it at a film festival near you because it deals with LGBT issues common to us all no matter where you are from.
You’ve got to hand it to Nepal. Among the poorest and least developed countries in the world and a conservative one, Nepal has implemented a slew of progressive changes in government policies regarding the rights of LGBT Nepalese in the past few years. It was the first country in South Asia to pass legislation to protect the rights of LGBT Nepalese which granted them the right to get married (take that, California!) in 2008. And now they recognize the transgender community by giving them their OWN gender category (take that, Adam and Eve!). A government does not get cooler than that.
Also, apparently Nepalese are among the top 10 coolest nationalities in the world (take that, Italy and France!).
So what are we waiting for? Let’s pack our bags and move to Nepal. With any luck I would have this view out of my window next year.
P.S. I do NOT work for the Nepal tourism board.