Sunil Pant Hub




Nepal To Consider Re-Criminalizing Homosexuality

AcharyaNepal 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:

Pant“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."


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...

Continue reading "70 Gay Rights Activists Arrested at Demonstration in Nepal" »


Nepal Holds 'International' Gay Pride Parade

Nepal

Nepal's Gay Pride celebration went international this year, with participation from several foreign entities. A parade took place yesterday.

British The Times of India reports:

Dozens of young men and women, dressed in costumes, masks and animal ensembles, marched in a gay pride reminding one of the Mardi Gras celebrations in Brazil. Organised under the aegis of Blue Diamond Society, Nepal's pioneering gay rights organisation, the march, now in its ninth year, has grown from strength to strength since its inception when the participants hid their faces behind masks for fear of being identified.

"From this year, our march has become internationalised," said Sunil Babu Pant, BDS founder and Nepal's only openly gay MP who successfully lobbied Supreme Court to recognise same-sex marriages and is now hosting such events for foreigners in Nepal with his gay travel agency, Pink Mountains, promising elaborate honeymoon packages. "We have the support of the Irish parliament, the American ambassador to Nepal, Scott DeLisi, has sent a message of solidarity and the march saw the participation of the British ambassador, John Tucknott. Thousands of gays die worldwide every year, some of natural causes, some due to AIDS/HIV and many due to violence. In Nepal, there were 10 known deaths last year. But no one remembers them. Our gay parade ends with a candle-light vigil in memory of those who died last year. This is about equality for all."

Tucknott, who can be seen in the inset photo above marching with the British contingent, released a statement about his participation:

2_nepal "Nepal Pride is not just about LGBT people standing up for their rights. It’s about all of us - straight or gay - supporting them in their quest for equality,"British Ambassador John Tucknott said. "It is about saying no to intolerance, no to prejudice, no to discrimination, and no to violence. It is about saying yes to embracing diversity. I wish all the participants in Nepal Pride 2010 a safe and enjoyable day.”

The Canadian Press adds:

"Pant's gay rights group organized the parade to campaign for greater rights for sexual minorities in Nepal. 'Our message is ending all forms of discrimination,' Pant told reporters. He said the parade participants were from India, Japan, Britain, Germany, Denmark and Norway, and a police officer at the scene estimated the crowd was around 2,000. Smaller such parades have been held in Nepal in the past."


Nepal Holds First Wedding Ceremony for Foreign Gay Couple

Nepal this week held its first wedding ceremony for a foreign gay couple, though same-sex marriage is not legal in that country...yet:

Pant  "The ceremony was held Tuesday night in Kathmandu for Sanjay Shah, 42, a Briton from Leicester, and an Indian man who did not want to be identified, said Sunil Pant, a member of Nepal's parliament and the nation's most prominent gay activist. Pant's gay rights group, Blue Diamond Society, organized the ceremony and issued the pair a certificate for a $200 fee. The two men were not legally married because Nepal has no laws legalizing same-sex marriage and does not marry foreigners. However, marriages performed by priests are generally accepted by society and most people who live in rural areas do not register their marriages with authorities...

...Gay rights have improved dramatically in a country where just five years ago police were beating gays and transsexuals in the streets. Now, in addition to having an openly gay parliamentarian, Nepal is issuing 'third gender' identity cards and appears set to enshrine gay rights — and possibly even same-sex marriage — in a new constitution. The charter, however, has been delayed because of bickering among political parties that have been unable to choose a new leader since Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June. Tuesday's private ceremony was attended by a small number of gay rights activists and members of Pant's group. Pant said there have been a few same-sex wedding ceremonies among Nepalese people, but it was the first for a foreign gay couple."

The ceremony was conducted by Mukti Neupane, a 58-year old Hindu priest in Nepal’s capital: “He was apprehensive at first. But later agreed to conduct a proper ceremony that lasted over 30 minutes."

Recently, Pant announced that the country would hold its first-ever Gay Pride parade on August 25 in Kathmandu.


Nepal to Hold First Gay Pride Parade on August 25

On August 25th, Kathmandu, Nepal will hold the nation's first Gay Pride parade, says openly gay MP Sunil Pant:

Nepal Sunilpant "Pant said he hopes up to 3,000 gays, lesbians, transvestites and transsexuals from Nepal and neighbouring countries will march through the streets of the capital Kathmandu on August 25. The date has been chosen to coincide with a centuries-old Hindu festival when Nepalese men traditionally dress up in women's clothing, and which has in recent years been adopted by Nepal's increasingly vocal gay community. 'We want to make this a truly international event,' said Pant, a well-known gay rights campaigner. 'Nepal has made so much progress on gay issues in the last few years, and we hope to spread hope and inspire others.' ... Pant said the parade would feature live music and include elephants and horses dressed in bright colours, and would culminate with a candle-lit memorial service for victims of HIV and violence."


Nepal Constitution will Guarantee Equal Rights to LGBTs

Equal rights for all, right? Like what the U.S. Constitution should provide, but doesn't:

Nepal "In less than five months Nepal will have a new constitution that will be the first in Asia to guarantee equal rights to sexual minorities. And once that happens, Tripti and Darshana, a lesbian couple, can formally wed. The couple in their 20s was thrown out of Nepal Army nearly three years ago due to their sexual orientation—albeit ‘disciplinary ground’ was cited as the reason for their removal. It is such kind of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered and inter-sexed (LGBTI) that the Himalayan nation’s new constitution seeks to prevent."

Said MP Sunil Pant: “Rights for LGBTIs have been well drafted in the new constitution. They will ensure non-discrimination and separate citizenship IDs for third-gendered people."

Nepal will stage gay weddings on the slopes of Mt. Everest: "The company will offer elephant-back bridal processions, Everest base camp ceremonies and weddings in remote Tibetan enclaves in the Himalayan republic."


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