When you hear Nepal, you most likely think Everest—now, the country has reached new heights with its first-ever transgender marriage registration.
Monika Shahi Nath, who identifies as a third gender, and her husband Ramesh Nath Yogi married back in May of this year, and then registered the union last month in their home district located in western Nepal, according to Public Radio International.
“This is also my attempt to awaken our government to make legal changes,” she said to AFP. “Others like me should also have the right to marry the person they love.”
The “legal changes” Nath is calling for refer to Nepal’s nonexistent laws recognizing same-sex and transgender marriages.
Officially, Nepal has made notable progress compared to other South Asian nations in regards to gender and sexuality initiatives in the past four years. In 2013, Nepali citizens could choose the above-mentioned third gender option; in 2015, passports could be issued with an “O” for “other” to signify their possessors identified as neither male nor female; and in 2015, Nepal amended its constitution to include equal rights protections for LGBTQ communities, reports the Human Rights Watch.
Still, Nepal has yet to join the list of countries around the world legalizing same-sex or transgender marriage. So while Nath and Yogi’s love is by all means legit and recognized, it could legally be considered criminal.
“Validity of the same-sex or third-sex marriage can be questioned even after marriage registration if it is against the existing laws," says Home Ministry spokesman Deepak Kafle to PRI.
But to the couple, the current legislation feels far from insurmountable.
“I think [because of our marriage], society should change, and will change” says Yogi in the Al Jazeera video. And we have to say, the final footage of the couple’s smiling selfie will leave you feeling optimistic too. “Ain’t no mountain high enough” and onward!