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.