Pride Parade in Kathmandu demanding equality


Nepal’s marginalized sexual minorities are demanding citizenship with “Others” as their gender, but legal ambiguities are obstructing their efforts….reports Asian Lite News

Celebrating the month of June as the month of pride, sexual minorities in Nepal held a parade through the capital painting the roads with rainbow-coloured flags and slogans demanding equality both by the state as well as the society.

Hundreds of members of marginalized sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics (PoMSOGIESC) annually organize the parade on the second Saturday of June. Since its inception, the demand for equality and equal treatment has always been raised.

Nepal’s marginalized sexual minorities have been demanding citizenship stating “Others” as their gender but the provisional ambiguity in the citizenship law has been creating a major hurdle for the group to obtain citizenship.

The existing administrative provisions still demand sexual minorities to produce medical certificates or clearance from certified doctors to ascertain their sexual orientation. This year, the participants of the parade chanted slogans, demanding equal treatment and access to fundamental rights and the right to citizenship.

Speaking to ANI, Tika Ram Bhusal, a Participant at the Pride Parade in Nepal said, “The state should not ask us to obtain any medical document to ascertain our sexual orientation, I request the government to facilitate the (citizenship) acquirement process so that we can get it easily. The state, society and the nation as a whole should pay attention towards our issue and we want this issue to be resolved as early as possible.”

During the parade, Tika Ram Bhusal designed his dress resonating with the pride flag with face paint.

Nepal has been marking a parade for people of Queer Youth Group – a youth-led queer organization in collaboration with Queer Rights Collective an informal collective of queer folks and Campaign for Change, an intersex rights organization has been organizing the annual celebration.

On Saturday, the group marched from Ratnapark to Narayan Chaur chanting slogans and holding placards. The group has been demanding their recognition and fighting for its identity which has been their first and foremost thing.

Moreover, they have been demanding formal legalization of same-sex marriage and the issue of adoption of children. The newly promulgated constitution of Nepal in September 2015 has special provisions for sexual minorities but the group has been demanding its complete implementation.

Though the Himalayan nation back in November 2023 temporarily registered the marriage of a same-sex couple, following the interim order from the Supreme Court issued on June 28, 2023. However, it is yet to be formally legalized.

Speaking to ANI, Utsav Sapkota, a participant at the Pride Parade in Nepal, said, “Increase the comprehension, expand it – ramify it more to other villages, towns, urban and rural areas, everywhere; ramify the rights, make it seen, implement it.”

Pride Day in particular is the day when Pride Parade is celebrated. The second Saturday of June is the Pride Day in Nepal. The month of June in the Gregorian calendar is the ‘Pride Month’.

Having one of the progressive constitutions to grant rights and recognition to sexual minorities, Nepal from the last census of 2021 has started collecting data on LGBTQI+ as well. The newly promulgated constitution of Nepal in September 2015 has special provisions for sexual minorities. However, the group has been demanding its complete implementation.

The Nepal government had promised to provide the group with citizenship based on sexual orientation. However, the condition isn’t that favourable when it goes into the implementation. The minorities have been voicing for same-sex marriage which they claim would give them a chance to live life that of heterosexuals.

Utsav Sapkot said, “The Government seems to be adrift in the matters, not that much focused on LGBTQI+ rights as much as it should. The number of people who identify themselves as gay is increasing day by day but the government doesn’t care, and that’s not done.”

As per the latest census of 2021, there are a total of 2,928 people who identified themselves as “others” in terms of gender or sexual orientation. The census of 2021 also set the mark as the first census of the nation to start recording the population of sexual minorities. (ANI)

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