The Constitution of Nepal was adopted in 2015 and is the first in South Asia to legally recognise sexual and gender minorities and protect the community’s fundamental rights. Further, the Constitution is one of the few that have been written in gender-neutral terms.
The following articles of the Constitution pertain to gender and sexual minorities:
Article 12 permits citizenship cards to be issued to a person with their preferred gender identity.
Article 18 recognizes gender and sexual minorities as a disadvantaged group. It permits the enactment of laws for the protection, empowerment and development of gender and sexual minorities.
Article 42 aims to promote participation of gender and sexual minorities in State bodies.
THE MAKING OF THE CONSTITUTION
Until 2006, Nepal was a monarchy, headed by King Gyanendra. In 2007, with the reinstatement of the Nepal House of Representatives, Nepal adopted an Interim Constitution which provided for a Constituent Assembly responsible for writing Nepal’s permanent Constitution. The permanent Constitution of Nepal declares it a federal, democratic and republican nation.
SEXUAL AND GENDER MINORITIES
The Sunil Babu Pant judgement was rendered in 2007 under Nepal’s Interim Constitution. This judgement was the first to legally recognize the equality and non-discrimination guarantee afforded to LGBTI citizens of Nepal. The judgement recommended that the permanent Constitution list sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Nepal joins South Africa, Portugal, and Bolivia in protecting sexual minorities. However, Nepal, Ecuador, Britain, Bolivia, Fiji, and Malta are the only countries which protect gender minorities in their Constitutions.
READ THE CONSTITUTION OF NEPAL HERE