APCRSHR10 Virtual intervention by Rukshana Kapali of Nepal


Thank you for giving me the floor to talk about this very important topic. I will share some of my experiences, views and thoughts regarding transgender rights and issues in Nepal.

In the past decades, many of you may have widely heard of certain narratives about Nepal's LGBTIQ+ rights movement. That we are an LGBTQIA+ friendly country —has been promoted and disseminated through various national and international media outlets. This claim is widely reported, and many people believe that queer people in Nepal have been afforded all possible legal rights. It is common to hear Nepal referred to as “a beacon for LGBT rights”, or that “Nepal has some of the most progressive laws regarding LGBT rights”. It is also believed that Nepal is especially progressive when it comes to addressing the rights of transgender persons.

All these romanticizations about Nepal fail to look into the grassroots level and actual issue faced by the population. Transgender people cannot easily access education as their cisgender peers. For instance, I myself have been fighting for a registration number at Tribhuvan University which has denied me from enrollment because my educational certifications from school are not congruent with my lived gender. And on other hand the institution that issued those certificates has denied me from amending it.

One of the biggest problem for Nepal is that the state thinks being LGBTI - five fixed categories are subset of a 'third gender' completely quashing the understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity & sex characteristics.

Forcing transgender men and women as 'third genders' is not the establishment of our rights, but the establishment of a violation. What we call as a 'tritiyabaadi' stance has prompted, encouraged, and propagated rampant fear and transphobia within and beyond the third gender community in Nepal by prescribing that anything beyond a Hindu-centered third gender identity is a threat to the community.

I, on behalf of Queer Youth Group and all the queer advocates, urge government, international organisations, United Nations agencies, regional networks, development partners, funding agencies, and other duty bearers to address the issue of gender recognition in Nepal. To enable transgender, intersex & non-binary individuals legally amend their citizenship & certificates to their self-perceived gender identity and preffered name, without subjecting to a forced third gender labelling. That we urge to stop thinking out of the box, and bring an end to this misconception that LGBTI is a third gender.

Rukshana Kapali, Nepal