Nepal Stalls on LGBT Rights Despite Early Strides

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11/30/2018

Nepal was hailed a leader in LGBT rights when it became the first country in conservative South Asia to recognize a third gender and assure equality for its sexual minorities. But more than a decade later, that trailblazing reputation has lost its luster, with gay and transgender Nepalis still confronting obstacles to jobs and schools, and marriage equality a distant prospect. More than 900,000 of Nepal’s roughly 26 million population identify as a sexual minority, according to LGBT rights group Blue Diamond Society. On paper, they enjoy some of the most progressive protections and rights guaranteed by law in the immediate region. Landmark reforms in 2007 prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and recognized gay Nepalis at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in neighboring India.

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