Incident Reports

Sex change puts MoHA in sort of a fix


Bagmati, Kathmandu, Kathmandu

Applications seeking a change of gender in their citizenship certificates, claiming that they have undergone sex-change have put the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) in some sort of a fix, as the Citizenship Act of Nepal does not have any provisions related to such issues. Claiming that he underwent a sex change surgery at Dhulikhel Hospital of Kathmandu University, Ranjan Danuwar (name changed) of Kavre district on March 25 applied at the Kavre District Administration Office (DAO) requesting a change of gender as “female” in the citizenship card.

Similarly, Ranjila Nepal (name changed) of Thulo Sirubari has applied at the DAO with a similar request. Claiming that “I underwent a sex change surgery in a hospital in Thailand”, Nepal has sought a change of gender from “female” to “male” in the citizenship card, MoHA now has asked the medical board of the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) “to confirm” if the concerned persons had undergone any such surgery. “Citizenship Act of Nepal, 2006 has no provision regarding persons who change their sex through gender reassignment surgery,” said Yadav Prasad Koirala, spokesperson for MoHA.“The Act talks only about technical errors that might be, or occur, in citizenship while preparing it,” added Koirala.

However, MoHA does have a precedent when it comes to gender change in the citizenship card. Earlier, when an application seeking gender change in the citizenship certificate had landed at Kathmandu DAO, MoHA had taken up the matter to the Cabinet, which had decided that “the applicant’s gender can be changed as per his/her demand if the medical board of the government gives the consent”. MoHA is preparing to take up the new cases to the Cabinet again after confirmation from the medical board to take a decision on the matter. In the earlier case, MoHA had first sought suggestions from the Ministry of Law, which had stated that “based on the existing laws, persons who change sex cannot get their gender changed in their citizenship cards”. MoHA on April 28 wrote to MoHP requesting confirmation on new applications.