Nepal urged to end 'invasive' transgender medical exams

Nepal urged to end ‘invasive’ transgender medical exams

/ 05:29 PM February 15, 2024

Nepal urged to end 'invasive' transgender medical exams

In this picture taken on August 30, 2023, Surendra Pandey (L) and Maya Gurung, a transgender woman speak during an interview with AFP in Kathmandu. Transgender woman Maya Gurung had hoped to march at Nepal’s Pride parade August 31 with her legally recognized husband — but a landmark ruling to give LGBTQ couples greater marriage rights appears stalled. AFP FILE PHOTO

KATHMANDU — Nepal should stop subjecting transgender citizens “invasive and humiliating” medical examinations before officially recognizing their gender identity, Human Rights Watch said in a new report Thursday.

The Himalayan republic is celebrated for having some of Asia’s most progressive laws on LGBTQ rights, with landmark 2007 reforms banning discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.


But activists say the LGBTQ community — estimated to be more than 900,000-strong — still faces endemic discrimination.


READ: Nepal stalls on LGBT rights despite early strides

Nepal introduced a third gender category for citizenship documents in 2013 on the basis of self-identification, but it has not enshrined a clear legal process for transgender citizens seeking to officially change their gender to “male” or “female”.

Human Rights Watch said that attempting to do so “invariably involves an invasive and humiliating physical exam in a medical setting, an experience that is rife with human rights violations”.

Manisha Dhakal of the LGBTQ rights organization Blue Diamond Society said that the legal grey area around changing one’s documents was upholding barriers faced by “generations” of transgender Nepalis.

“We need real change now,” she said in a statement.

READ: Nepal to count LGBT population in census for the first time


Bhumika Shrestha, who was profiled in the report, told AFP that she was forced to undergo a medical exam despite showing documents detailing her gender reassignment surgery.

“I had to take my clothes off to be checked. They touched and checked minute details on my body, it was very uncomfortable,” she said.

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“Other Nepalis are not asked to remove their clothes to get their citizenships. Why are we subjected to this?”

TAGS: law, LGBTQ, Nepal, transgender

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