Nepalese officials announced Thursday that there will be a third gender option in the next population census, marking the first time the LGBTQ+ community has been included in the population statistics as a minority group.
The Central Bureau of Statistics will publish the survey in 2021, which campaigners believe will grant better access to healthcare and education for people who are LGBTQ+ in Nepal, which has a population of 29 million, the data previously omitted them from these programs.
Despite previous controversy, the third option is a step towards more acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community in Nepal, following the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision granting equal rights for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation.
However, there are no additional options to identify which sexual orientation the person identifies with; a decision which will be decided in March. The Head of the Mitini Nepal charity, Ms Sarita K.C. said: “There are plans for a more specific, detailed survey exclusively for LGBTI [people] … hopefully by 2022. It will give more accurate data.”