September 12, 2007 / 12:47 PM / 11 years ago

Transsexuals rally for rights in Nepal

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Hundreds of transsexuals marched in Nepal’s capital on Wednesday in a rare protest, demanding equal rights for sexual minorities and representation in a national assembly to be elected this year.

About 500 transsexuals — who are demanding legal recognition as a third sex — carried rainbow flags through Kathmandu, many men wearing colorful Nepali dresses or crimson saris, with some women in menswear.

They want an end to discrimination in the mostly Hindu country, where homosexuality is taboo and effectively illegal under a vaguely worded law that bans “unnatural” sex.

Many said they faced difficulties obtaining citizenship papers needed for getting jobs and starting businesses.

Nepal’s first elections in eight years are expected to happen on November 22. Voters will choose an assembly, which will draft a new constitution and decide the fate of the monarchy.

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