Govt okays citizenship rights to transsexual

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In a landmark decision, the Cabinet has agreed to provide citizenship to a post-operative transsexual who changed sex from male to female.

Caitlin Panta, earlier Pratik Panta, is the first Nepali to have changed gender through a sex reassignment therapy (SRT) procedure this January.  The decision has opened up doors for those wishing to change their sex and avail of citizenship under the changed sex.

Pratik Pant (inset) and his new look as a female after he changes his sex (file photo)

A Cabinet meeting on September 3 had instructed the Nepal Medical Board (NMB) to find out whether Panta had changed sex and if there were any feelings of apathy after changing the sex. It was also instructed to assess Panta’s mental state and if there were any behavioral changes. A three-member committee formed at the NMB certified Panta as female, confirming the sex change.

“After receiving the Cabinet decision, we formed a committee at the NMB, which gave us clearance that Panta had indeed changed sex. Now, we will provide instructions to the District Administration Office (DAO) Kathmandu to award a new citizenship to Panta that recognises the new identity,” a Kantipur report quoted Joint Secretary at the Home Ministry, Bhola Siwakoti as saying. The Cabinet also instructed the ministry to report back once Panta changed citizenships.

Panta, 19, had undergone surgery to change sex in Bangkok early this year. Caitlin’s father, Santosh Panta, a well-known comedian, narrated a gloomy story of how he was pushed around by red-tapism.

“It took over six months for the Cabinet to make the decision in our favour,” he said. “I produced countless testimonials, including from international notaries. I am going to the KDO on Friday to apply for the new citizenship and will then apply for a passport as Caitlin is planning to go abroad for studies.”

The story, first published in Kantipur after Pratik changed gender status, said it had cost around $26,000 for the reassignment surgery. Caitlin is Santosh’s youngest child.

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