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Nepal Issues Its First Third-Gender Passport To Recognize LGBT Citizens

It's a milestone day for the country's LGBT citizens.

Nepal has issued its first passport under a third-gender category for sexual minorities.

Activist Manoj Shahi, who is transgender and prefers to be called Monica, became the first recipient of a category “O” passport on Monday.

“This is a very welcoming move. It is a huge recognition for all sexual minorities of Nepal,” Shahi told the Himalayan Times.

In January, Nepal announced it would issue travel documents under category "O" (for "other") for those who don't want to be identified as male or female.

"My struggle was not just for myself, but for future generations. Now everyone like me can get this service," Shahi told Agence France-Presse.

"My country has recognized and respected my identity."

The change follows a 2007 ruling in which Nepal's Supreme Court ruling ordered authorities to amend legislation to include a third gender, according to TIME.

Nepal also issues citizenship certificates under the “O” category. A person must have an “O” category citizenship certificate under prior to applying for the passport.

Australia and New Zealand also issue passports with a third-gender designation, with a gender sign “X.”

Manisha Dhakal, the executive director of LGBT rights group Blue Diamond Society, welcomed the move.

She called on other countries to acknowledge Nepal’s decision and help facilitate the travel of Nepalis holding “O” category passports.

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