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This is the third diary in a row I've written highlighting transpeople from Asia.  Monday I highlighted Barack Obama's Indonesian nanny, Evie.  Sunday I highlighted India's Rose Venkatesan.

Nepal

Bhumika Shrestha is the first ever transgender Nepalese politcian.  So she has more in common with Rose than Evie.

Adi's Weblog has background on Bhumika, but it is not written by someone fluent in English.

Bhumika is the woman in blue in the video below.  [The video I had intended here is from Vimeo and refuses to show at DK.]

Last year Nepal became the first country to include a third gender in its national census.

Bhumika grew up being taunted by her community because she did not conform to her community's gendered expectations.

In Nepali society, especially in my village, people do not understand. When I walk around, people look at me and start laughing.
Like gender-variant kids everywhere, ske felt like the only person in the world who had this feeling.  When she was sixteen, she was approached by someone representingthe Blue Diamond Society.  She discovered that indeed, she was not alone.

Founded in 2001 by Sunil Pant, a Nepalese gay man who had been educated overseas, BDS advocates for the rights of GLBT people.  It has approximately 400,000 members.

Because of her gender-variance, she was kicked out of school in 10th grade.

In 2007 Bhumika entered the National Pink Pageant…a beauty pageant for third-gender people organized by BDS…and she won.  That attracted the attention of the media.

And less than three years later she was a political figure.  She was sworn into the Nepali Congress political party.

I personally first encountered Bhumika when she was highlighted by The New Civil Rights Movement last year.  She was traveling from Kathmandu to New York City to represent Nepal at the United Nations when she was questioned intensively in Doha because her documentation declared her to be a man named Kailash.

She appears in the following video, as does Sunil Pant.  Pant is the first gay member of Nepal's parliament.

She appeared in a 2010 film by Nani Sahra Walker, entitled Other Nature.  She does not appear in the trailer, but here it is anyway:
Well, there it was supposed to be.  Another video failure in a long line of them.

Outlook Video interviewed Ms. Walker about the film in 2010. The interview includes footage from the film that includes Bhumika and Pant.

She is in the news now because she won an election last week in the Nepali Congress party among 50 candidates to represent minorities.

The Philippines

The University of the Philippines in Diliman (UP-Diliman) has elected the nation's first transgender head of student government.  Gabriel Paolo (Heart) Diño, a graduate student in the Applied Mathematics (Finance) program, she ran for the Alyansa party and garnered 3290 votes, compared to the 2743 votes won by independent candidate Martin Loon from the College of Law.

Last year Diño won a student council seat with the highest number of votes.

Simultaneous with Heart's victory, transgender undergraduate Pat Bringas, a Film and Audio Visual Communication major, won a seat on the council.

It's a great win for human rights to have a transgender win the premier seat in the (UP) Student Council.  Kung titignan ang kanyang stand, she fights against gender discrimination, corruption and hazing.  This is something to be proud of because this means there's hope in Philippine society.

--Clara Rita Padilla, the Executive Director of EnGendeRights, a non-governmental organization advocating gender equality

Sorry, I don't speak Tagalog.
This was the real change we were looking for.  Ibig sabihin nito tinatanggap na kami not on the basis of sexual orientation or identity but based on capability and skills.

--Benz Benedicto, former chairperson of the Ang Ladlad political party, which represents Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) interests

This time Google Translate makes a little more sense.  The tagalog phrase translates as "this means we accept".
Whether one is lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual, the power to lead has been transferred to the capable hands of a transgender leader. We applaud this historic moment and congratulate her in her achievement.

--Danton Remoto, current Ang Ladlad party chairman

Armed with Google Translate, I waded through the mess which is the commentary, which is loaded with bigotry towards and defense of GLBT people, and the curious claim that the reason for this outcome is that Filipino television shows too much about transpeople.  As always, conservative people blame the spread of knowledge for things they do not like.

I've been working on another essay which exams the same thought among Americans.  

UP-Babaylan elections are coming up.  The UP-Diliman results are being used to encourage similar results there.

Hong Kong

In 2009 a transwoman identified simply as Ms W lost an initial hearing in a Hong Kong court in her quest to marry her boyfriend because the Registrar of Marriages refuses to recognize her as female since Hong Kong does not allow her to have a correction made to her birth certificate.  In 2010 there was a judicial review of that verdict in which her legal counsel, Philip Dykes claimed that marriage was a basic human right protected by Article 37 of the Basic Law.  Government Counsel Monica Carss-Frisk countered that "natural gender" was determined by genes and that a transgender woman marrying her boyfriend would fundamentally alter Hong Kong traditions.

Ms W has been granted the right to take the case to the Court of Final Appeal.

Should it decide in her favor, the court will have to decide whether the ordinance is unconstitutional, and review related issues according to the Hong Kong Bill of Rights.

Thailand

By now all should have heard of the bathroom issue .  One school in Thailand dealt with the issue as follows:

Originally posted to TransAction on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 08:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women and LGBT Kos Community.

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