Queer Youth Group, an intersectional network led by young queer folks for the rights of queer people/PoMSOGIESEC (People of marginalized sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics) in Nepal, has drawn the attention of the Ministry of Health and Population as well as the government towards why the requirement of identity cards to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is problematic for trans persons and people from diverse gender identities.

Issuing a statement today, Queer Youth Nepal said that trans persons and people from diverse gender identity are subjected to discrimination, stigma, abuse and obstruction due to their identity cards, which is mandatory to be eligible for the government’s relief programs and anti-COVID vaccine.

“As the provision to issue identity cards in line with a person’s gender identity, despite being guaranteed by the Constitution of Nepal, international law and Supreme Court’s decision, has not been implemented in the country, we — trans persons and people from diverse gender identities — are compelled to carry identity cards which are contrary to our gender identities,” the statement reads.

“For those of us who are open about our gender identities, the lack of revision of our identity cards has not only caused problems in our daily lives but has also prevented us from benefiting from the government’s COVID-19 relief packages and vaccination program.”

The statement further reads that the identity cards of trans women still refers to them as men and carry their dead name, and same is the case with trans men’s ID cards.

It is important to note here that trans women are women and trans men are men.

Apart from trans men and women, people from other gender identities have also been deprived of identity cards in accordance with their gender identity.

“Trans women and men, who identify as women or men, have been marked as ‘other’ in the gender section of their ID cards. If a trans person identifies as a woman or a man and presents themselves as per the gender identity but their ID card mentions a different name and gender, they become subject to discrimination and abuse by authorities in charge of checking the IDs,” the statement reads.

ID cards inconsistent with people of diverse gender identities have long deprived gender minorities from accessing legal aid and other kinds of state-provided benefits.

“If a person’s name and gender details mentioned in the ID card do not match their gender expression or lived gender identity, the person is likely to be mistreated, abused, discriminated against and deprived of anti-COVID vaccine. To prevent this from happening, we would like to draw the attention of all concerned, including the Ministry of Health and Population.”

The Group has also requested that a correspondence regarding the same be circulated at all local levels involved in the immunization program to ensure that confidentiality is maintained and that one is not deprived of immunization because of their gender identity.

Queer Youth Group advocates for legal gender recognition of trans and non-binary persons in the citizenship (amendment) bill of Nepal, and coordinates with various government agencies in a bid to ensure trans and non-binary friendly provisions.