Development, Discourse and Law: Transgender and Same-Sex Sexualities in Nepal

Boyce, P and Coyle, D
Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Publication date: 
Wednesday, 24 July, 2013



This report presents research conducted in Nepal between November 2012 and January 2013 aimed at exploring the legal, social and economic context pertaining to sexual and gender minority rights.

The research explored recent legal reform in Nepal, the wider socioeconomic and social context of legal reform, and included work with sexual and gender minority persons, aimed at understanding their life experiences.

Findings of the research emphasise complex connections between law, social context and sexual subjectivity. There is dissonance in Nepal between a progressive legislative environment in respect of gender and sexual minority issues and everyday sociocultural ambivalence toward such sexual and gender minority persons. Such persons may suffer from explicit prejudice, lack of economic opportunity and familial rejection. Other forms of marginalisation may be more tacit, but nonetheless profoundly significant.

  • In 2011, Nepal became the first country in the world to add a third category in addition to male and female in the national population and housing census. Since 2013, the state have begun to issue citizenship documents listing a third gender.
  • While this affirms the equal citizenship rights of third gender people in Nepal, they continue to experience explicit prejudice, lack of economic opportunity and familial rejection. 
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