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Jun 20, 2007 at 02:38am IST

Nepal recognises first gay citizen

Kathmandu: A Nepali man who wears women's clothes and behaves as a female became the first citizen of the conservative Himalayan nation to be recognised as transgender in a move hailed as 'significant' on Sunday by gay rights activists.

Chanda Mausalman, who is in his 20s, obtained citizenship papers recognising him as both male and female from authorities in the southwestern district of Banke, said Sunil Pant of the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal's main gay rights group.

Mausalman, who prefers to be referred to as 'she', has had no sex change surgery or treatment. "This is a very significant step forward for all transgender people," Pant said. "This is the first case of a transgender getting the citizenship certificate."

HIMALAYAN CHANGE: Conservative Nepal recognises its first gay man in a move hailed as 'significant' by gay rights activists.

International rights groups say there is discrimination against sexual minorities in the majority-Hindu country and accuse authorities of harassing them. Last month, Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged the Nepali government to end discrimination against various sections of people, including sexual minorities.

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