Nepalese cou­ple reg­is­ters 1st trans­gen­der mar­riage

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

KATH­MANDU: A Nepali trans­gen­der woman and a man reg­is­tered their mar­riage, a first in the coun­try, the cou­ple said yes­ter­day, de­spite an ab­sence of laws le­gal­iz­ing same-sex or trans­gen­der unions. Monika Shahi Nath, 40, who legally iden­ti­fies as a third gen­der, mar­ried Ramesh Nath Yogi, 22, in May and was able to reg­is­ter it in their home dis­trict Dadeld­hura in west­ern Nepal last month.

“I have suc­cess­fully reg­is­tered my mar­riage with my hus­band,” Nath said at a press con­fer­ence, where she showed her mar­riage cer­tifi­cate. “This is also my at­tempt to awaken our gov­ern­ment to make le­gal changes. Oth­ers like me should also have the right to marry the per­son they love,” she told AFP. Nepal’s law is silent on same-sex or trans­gen­der mar­riages de­spite a 2015 ex­pert com­mit­tee rec­om­men­da­tion to le­gal­ize same-sex mar­riages fol­low­ing a Supreme Court or­der to en­shrine the rights of sex­ual mi­nori­ties.

Pinky Gu­rung, pres­i­dent of the Blue Di­a­mond So­ci­ety which works on be­half of sex­ual mi­nori­ties in Nepal, said that the wed­ding was an achieve­ment for their move­ment. “This is a be­gin­ning. But we need to see the gov­ern­ment take ac­tion to le­galise mar­riages for our com­mu­nity and en­act the nec­es­sary laws,” said Gu­rung. How­ever, a lack of le­gal clar­ity on the is­sue could jeop­ar­dise the mar­riage.

“Va­lid­ity of the same-sex or third-sex mar­riage can be ques­tioned even af­ter mar­riage regis­tra­tion if it is against the ex­ist­ing laws,” said Deepak Kafle, Home Min­istry spokesman. Le­gal ex­perts said that the cou­ple could also face al­le­ga­tions of polygamy which is il­le­gal in Nepal-as Yogi has an ex­ist­ing wife, and two chil­dren, prior to this mar­riage. Nepal al­ready has some of the most pro­gres­sive poli­cies on ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in South Asia. In 2013 Nepal in­tro­duced cit­i­zen­ships with a third gen­der op­tion and be­gan is­su­ing pass­ports re­flect­ing the same in 2015.


KATH­MANDU: Nepali trans­gen­der woman Monika Shahi Nath (L) and her hus­band Ramesh Nath (R) pose for pic­tures with their mar­riage cer­tifi­cate af­ter an­nounc­ing the regis­tra­tion of their mar­riage at a press con­fer­ence.

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