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Nepalese transgendered performers pose for photographs backstage in Kathmandu on November 2, 2013. Prakash Mathema — AFP/Getty Images
Nepalese transgendered performers pose for photographs backstage in Kathmandu on November 2, 2013.
Prakash Mathema — AFP/Getty Images

Nepal announced plans this week to issue passports to sexual minorities, which will allow transgender residents in the Himalayan nation to openly identify as a member of a third gender on their travel documents.

“We have changed the passport regulations and will add a third category of gender for those people who do not want to be identified as male or female,” Lok Bahadur Thapa, chief of the government’s passport department, told Reuters.

The decision comes after a 2007 Supreme Court ruling in the country ordered authorities to amend legislation to include a third gender.

South Asia nations appear to be ahead of the curve regarding the right to identify as transgender on official documents. Court decisions in Pakistan in 2009 and India in 2014 both cleared the way for people who identify as transgender to do so formally.
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