Saturday, November 7, 2015

Nepalese travelers no
longer have to choose between "male" or "female" when applying for a
passport.
The country has introduced a new "other" option, marked as
"O" on a passport, for when a binary gender system doesn't accurately
represent the traveler.
This achievement has been a long time coming.
Back in 2007, a judge ordered
Nepalese authorities to include a third gender option in citizenship documents
for those who do not wish to identify as either male or female or for those
who identify as something other than the gender they were assigned at
birth.
In 2011, Nepal included a third gender in its census and in 2013, Nepal
became one of just a handful of countries in the world to recognize a third
gender.
Now, Bhumika Shrestha, a gay and trans rights activist, became the
country's first citizen to travel with the letter "O" stepping in for
the more familiar "M" for male or "F" for female, reports The
Advocate.
Shrestha, who was born male but identifies as female, used her new
passport to travel to Taiwan for the 2015 International Lesbian and Gay
Association's Asia conference.
However, travelers who identify as third
gender still face discrimination, especially when visiting countries that
refuse to accept their identity.
AFP/Getty Images
The arm of the United Nations that helps determine international travel
document guidelines, recommends that countries offer passports designated as
either M for male, F for female, or X for indeterminate gender.
As The
Advocate notes, Australia, New Zealand, and Malta all allow for X passports
in some cases.
Court decisions in Pakistan and India both cleared the way for people who
identify as indeterminate gender to do so on national identity cards, although
it is unclear whether passports have yet been issued with a third gender
option.
In the United States, an intersex Colorado resident is currently suing
the government to put a third-gender option on passports after being denied a
passport for refusing to identify as either male or female.
Nepal has become one of a handful of countries to allow its
citizens to mark their passports with a third gender instead of male or
female.
Read on for details.

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