Nepal Justice Minister Narahari Acharya [pictured right] is seeking to enact new anti-gay laws re-criminalizing homosexuality, reports the Nepal Times.
In 2007, Nepal decriminalized homosexuality and ruled in favor of protections for the equal rights of LGBTI people. However, the law ministry is currently preparing to push anti-gay laws that will punish gay sex with three years imprisonment. The law would also prohibit same-sex unions.
Writing in Nepal Times, Sunil Bapu Pant [pictured below], the country’s first openly gay politician, highlights the difficulties faced by LGBTI people in Nepal:
When taxing citizens the government does not discriminate, but when assuring citizens of their rights, the government wants to know your gender. And if you are third gender, you cannot go to school, you cannot get a passport, you cannot get married, you cannot apply for job, you cannot join the police/army/bureaucracy, you cannot access a loan or development programs, you cannot open your business or register your property.
Addressing the proposed new anti-gay laws, Pant continues:
“This new draft provision of civil and criminal codes prepared by the Law Ministry not only defines homosexuality, but also oral and anal sex among heterosexuals, as ‘unnatural’ acts. The definition of rape is narrowed only to women.
"Many third genders are forced into heterosexual marriage, ruining both lives. Codifying such forced and heterosexualised relationships to third genders serves only to create needless suffering to our families and relatives. The notion that third gender and same-sex relationships are unnatural is absurd and wrong, as proven by our historical and religious texts. The more we exclude and isolate LGBT people, the more we hurt everyone. Because if a person has no right to go to school, no right to get jobs, cannot contribute to the economy of the country, cannot contribute to the culture, they become burden to society.
"All Nepalis who believe in equality and tolerance must raise their voices. The right to justice of all marginalised peoples is under threat from a regressive state. They are going to be excluded, marginalized, discriminated against, criminalised and demonised."