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Nepal to count LGBT population in census for first time

The Himalayan nation is about to count a third gender in its next population census, the first time that counting LGBT people will be done as a minority group that can be allocated government jobs and education.

Photo by Sanjay Hona from Unsplash.com

Rainbow progress in Nepal.

Beyond the once-a-year now-largely-commercial Pride parade, a more lasting effort involving the LGBT community is happening in Nepal, with the Himalayan nation about to count a third gender in its next population census, the first time that counting LGBT people will be done as a minority group that can be allocated government jobs and education.

The country’s LGBT community has long demanded the census – which is taken every 10 years – to count sexual minorities. This is also largely because Nepal’s laws prescribe special quotas for minorities in workplaces, schools and colleges; as well as access to discounted healthcare. The absence of census data on LGBT people, obviously, omits them from such programs.

According to Dhundi Raj Lamichane, an official at Nepal’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the national census is planned for summer of 2021 but a trial will be done next month in selected districts.

Citizens will be able to identify themselves as male, female or other gender.

It is worth noting that the change does not actually specify SOGIESC of LGBT people, as it is specific to gender rather than any person’s sexual identity. But the move is being welcomed particularly by local activists for “increasing the visibility of the LGBT community.”

It is estimated that about 900,000 of Nepal’s 29 million people are LGBT.

This isn’t the only pro-LGBT move occurring in Nepal. In 2015, the constitution that was adopted forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation, reaffirming a 2008 Supreme Court ruling. Also, citizenship certificates and passports now offer a “non-male, non-female” option in the gender category.

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