[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Nepal [official website] Friday ordered the Nepalese government to extend gay and transgendered people the same rights and privileges as other citizens. Gay and transgendered people face heavy discrimination in conservative Nepal [JURIST news archive], where so-called "unnatural sex" is illegal and is punishable by jail time. The ruling by Supreme Court judges Pawan Kumar Ojha and Bala Ram K.C. came in a response to a petition filed by Nepal's main gay rights group, the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) [advocacy website].
Pant said that transgendered people will now be able to identify as "third sex," a category separate from male or female, when applying for jobs, education, or government identification certificates, but a spokesperson for the court said it is still up to the government on how to interpret the decision. It is not clear that the current laws banning homosexuality will be overturned or that same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive] will be recognized. Reuters has more.