Nepal’s gay community marched through Kathmandu demanding equal rights

Nepali members of the LGBT community take part in a Gay Pride parade in Kathmandu on August 8, 2017. Scores of gays, lesbians, transvestites and transsexuals from across the country took part in the rally to spread their campaign for sexual rights in the country. In 2013 Nepal introduced citizenships with a third gender option and began issuing passports reflecting the same in 2015. / AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA

Vastavam web: Hundreds of members of Nepal’s gay community marched through Kathmandu today, many wearing vibrant costumes and carrying rainbow flags and balloons, in an annual pride parade.The march is timed to coincide with the Hindu festival of Gai Jatra, which brings hundreds onto the streets to pay respects to those who have died in the past year.In recent years the gay community has started using the festival to call attention to its demands for equal rights.Around 1,500 people took part in the parade, paying tribute to members of LGBTI community who had died in 2017, including American artist Gilbert Baker who designed the rainbow flag that has become an emblem of the gay community.

Nepal has some of South Asia’s most progressive laws on homosexuality and transgender rights, but activists say members of the community continue to face discrimination and live in the shadows of society.”The government has recognised us but should do more.People of third gender like us should be able to come out in the open, society should accept us,” said Kirti Gurung, a 21- year-old transgender woman.Last month a transgender woman and her husband were issued a marriage certificate by a district office, a first in Nepal.