70 Gay Rights Activists Arrested at Demonstration in Nepal

Kathmandu police detained 70 gay rights activists including openly gay MP Sunil Pant yesterday, during a demonstration in Nepal's capital over government identification for transgender people, ABC reports:

Pant "Nepali men and women who identify as transgender are seeking citizenship certificates with their gender marked as 'third sex' instead of male or female. Sunil Babu Pant, lawmaker and founder of the Blue Diamond Society, a gay rights group, says more than 70 people were detained near the prime minister's office and parliament. 'We are running out of patience and are demanding our rights,' Pant said from a detention centre. "Without the citizenship papers, the sexual minorities are unable to get a job, enrol in schools or colleges, seek treatment in hospitals and travel," he said. 'They cannot even inherit parental property.' … Kathmandu police chief Ramesh Kharel said the activists were detained for 'violating the norms' by gathering at a place where demonstrations were not allowed."

In related news, one initiative that Pant has also spearheaded to raise awareness about the plight of transgender people in the country is the Beauty and Brains Talent contest.

Watch a trailer for a documentary on it, AFTER THE JUMP

Beauty and Brains – 2 min trailer from Catherine Donaldson on Vimeo.

Write the filmmakers: "To be third-gender in Nepal means a choice of three careers; giving blessing at weddings, begging or prostitution. They are excluded from family and school, are prey to security forces, blackmail and sexual abuse. However, as Nepal attempts to write a new constitution there is a chance of change. In order to be heard above the clamour and civil unrest, the third-genders with Sunil Pant and the Blue Diamond Society embarked on the Beauty and Brains Talent Contest. This is the story of a community gaining the confidence to confront prejudice and tell society they are natural human beings."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Nepal wants LGBT honeymooners

Mount Everest in Nepal
Mount Everest in Nepal

Just five years ago, gays, lesbians and transgender people were beaten in the streets in Nepal.

Now, the country has a gay member of parliament, is about to write a new constitution with LGBT equality including same-sex marriage and wants gays and lesbians to come trekking through the Himalayas on their honeymoon, according to an Associated Press story.

Two years ago, the country’s Supreme Court scrapped laws that discriminated against the LGBT community. At the time, homosexuality carried a one-year prison term, according to the BBC.

In their ruling, they said, “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex are natural persons irrespective of their masculine and feminine gender and they have the right to exercise their rights and live an independent life in society.”

Tourism is one of Nepal’s biggest industries. Last year it generated $350 million. This year, they want to to double that with 1 million visitors and the hope is that the LGBT community will help them reach that goal.

Everest base-camp, elephant-safari same-sex weddings could be a draw. But the country does not officially marry people who are not citizens. The marriage would have no legal standing either in that country or in states here, even where same-sex marriages are recognized.

And one other word of warning — a report of human rights violations by the U.S. State Department. Four serious problems: impunity, threats against media, arbitrary arrest and lengthy pretrial detention.

There were many cases of arbitrary arrests, torture and manhandling by state authorities as well as threats against the media by groups, the report says. Citing the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal, the report says 835 people disappeared during the year. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) put the numbers of disappeared at 1,365.

—  David Taffet