Kathmandu(Pahichan) March 25- Preparations have reached a final stage to issue passports to sexual and gender minorities categorizing them as others (O), Nepal government has said. A government committee has already taken such decisions which will be soon published in Nepal Gazette which effectively paves way for the implementation.
Blue Diamond Society has been demanding to make such arrangements for the long time. Monika Shahi, a transgender from Kailali, has already submitted an application seeking passport under O category. Director General of Passport Department Lok Bahdur Thapa informed that Shahi will get the passport soon under the ‘O’ category.
International Civil Aviation Authority has already given the permission that passport could be issued mentioning O or X category to sexual minorities. According to Thapa, tasks related to developing the software and forms are underway and passport will be distributed soon. Shahi said she will get the passport by Thursday.
Nepal was the first South Asian country to decide to issue separate passports to sexual and gender minorities. Earlier, the government was undecided on identifying the sexual and gender minorities in passports. Some had suggested calling their category ‘X’ (extra), while others had opined to call it ‘O’ (others). Nepal has so far been issuing passports under two categories male and female, codifying them as ‘M’ and ‘F’, respectively.
Monika will be the first transgender to get passport under ‘O’ category. Monika said they is getting passport to boost the moral of homosexuals and transgender. She said Sunil Babu Pant has already played a vital role to secure their rights and his contribution is always praiseworthy.
She said passport will be unveiled by Pant himself. “I want to extend my thanks to Pant who is playing a vital role to establish our rights,” Monika said. Monika also played a vital role to publish the notice in Nepal Gazette. Monika is preparing to scale the Mount Everest.
According to Advocate Sujan Pant Nepal is a first country which has begun to distribute the passport under ‘O’ category.’Australia, New Zealand and some European countries issue passports to sexual and gender minorities under ‘X’ category, officials said. Chief program coordinator of Blue Diamond Society Parshu Ram Rai said it has made all the homosexuals and transgender happy.