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650 transgenders in Nepal apply for civil services

IANS | Kathmandu |

For the first time in the history of Nepal, 651 transgenders applied for civil service exams conducted by the Public Service Commission last year, a media report said.

The forms for civil service jobs exams had three gender options, one for male examinees, the other for females, and the third for the 'Other' sex, Kathmandu Post reported.

The percentage of those who appeared in the 'Other' sex category was 0.11 per cent of total 595,031 applicants.

It nevertheless was a big step forward for the country's LGBTI community, PSC Chairman Umesh Prasad Mainali said.

The report does not state how many transgender applicants secured jobs as the results of many exams have not come out, said Geeta Kumari Humagain, information officer at the PSC.

"The results of all exams were not included in the report, so there is a chance that people identifying themselves as the 'Other' sex might have secured jobs in civil service," she told the Post. 

Even if the transgender applicants did not make it through the exams, they can have a go next time, she said.

"The government opening doors to allow transgenders to join the civil service is a positive decision. It is a matter of providing equal opportunity to all citizens," said Mainali.

A member of Blue Diamond Society, an LGBTI advocacy group, praised the opportunity provided to transgenders by the government but said they should also be included in the reservation policy, like women, Dalits, other ethnic minorities and disabled persons, for whom the government has been setting aside 45 per cent of the civil service seats.

"The government should give LGBTIs a leg up for them to succeed in the society. There are many of us who come from poor background and who have lived in stigma all their lives just like the people who belong to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes," Chairman of BDS Pinky Gurung said.

According to local media, the PSC made such provision after the rights of gender and sexual minority was guaranteed by the new Constitution of Nepal.

PSC spokesman Laxmi Bilas Koirala said there was equal treatment to male, female and transgenders in the recruitment process.

"We will treat all with equal footing. Male, female and transgender all can fight for government jobs," said Koirala, the Post reported.