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Nepal recognizes
first transgender woman

Nepal recognizes
first transgender woman

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

Chanda Mausalman, who is in his 20s, obtained citizenship papers recognizing 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."

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 U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged the Nepali government to end discrimination against various groups of people, including sexual minorities. (Reuters)

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