The first official marriage in Nepal where one of the couple is trans may happen soon.
Monika Shahi Nath and Ramesh Nath Yogi registered and were granted a marriage licence in May in western Nepal.
The couple addressed media on Saturday saying they registered their wedding and it was accepted in their home district.
Nepal does not recognize same-sex marriage or have laws governing trans people getting people. But it does recognize trans people as the ‘third-gender, which is the official gender Monika is registered as.
‘I have successfully registered my marriage with my husband,’ Nath said at the press conference as reported in the Hindustan Times.
‘This is also my attempt to awaken our government to make legal changes. Others like me should also have the right to marry the person they love.’
Only the beginning
Nepal’s leading LGBTI organization, the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), applauded the couple.
‘This is a beginning. But we need to see the government take action to legalise marriages for our community and enact the necessary laws,’ BDS president Pinky Gurung told the Hindustan Times.
But a Home Ministry spokesperson the couple’s marriage might not be legal.
‘Validity of the same-sex or third-sex marriage can be questioned even after marriage registration if it is against the existing laws,’ Deepak Kafle said.
Nepal first recognized and allowed for applicants to identify as third gender in the census and citizenship card in 2011. In 2015 the provision was extended to passports.
The country is a leader in South Asia on LGBTI issues and in 2015 approved the first LGBTI protections in the country’s constitution.