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BDS organised a Pride March in occasion of the Gai Jatra for the third year (picture 2003)
ANOTHER REASON TO CELEBRATE

in NEPAL, 01/09/2004

No law on homos: Nepali Home Ministry

by Prabhat Guatam. Kathmandu Post Aug 31.

Gays in Kathmandu who have frequent victims of humiliation and torture by police, have something to cheer about with the Interior Ministry's conclusion that it could not ban their activities.

"There is no legal provision to ban or punish homosexual activities," Interior Minister Ananta Ram Pandey told the Supreme Court in a written reply relating to a show cause notice.

Last month, the Supreme Court had issued a show cause notice to the Interior Ministry seeking a written reply on whether homosexual activities should be banned as demanded by Lawyer Achyut Prasad Kharel in a public interest litigation petition. In the petition, Kharel had sought an Supreme Court order to the Interior Ministry to ban the "growing activities of homosexuals in the capital".

Kathmandu gays choose Gai Jatra for pride march by Prabhat Gautam

Kathmandu Post, August 31 - It would not be much of a surprise for the residents of Kathmandu to see males dressed as females during Gai Jatra festival, as it has come to be a traditional aspect of the festival. But in recent years, the trend has assumed a new dimension.

As such, the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), an NGO advocating equal social rights for sexual minorities and raising awareness on HIV/AIDS organized a pride march of homosexuals on Monday, for the fourth year in a row.

Escorted by police, the procession started from Thamel and went through the roads of Indra Chowk, till they reached the Hanuman Dhoka where a candle-light memorial for AIDS victims was held. The pride march ended at the same place where it had started.

To see macho men clad in pink sarees and short skirts would certainly be a surprise to many. As the procession passed along New Road Sulabh Basnet was perplexed to see what was happening, he says, „In Nepalese context these acts are very much disturbing and inappropriate and will only add to the anomalies of society."

But Babita Dhakal, another passerby has a different point of view. "I think that, whatever they are doing is not that wrong, since they have no other option than to accept their inborn sexuality. And processions like these help society to understand them," she says.

"We are organizing this procession also to commemorate the souls of those who died of AIDS last year. Because even their families don't want to remember them due to their disease," says Sunil Pant, president of BDS.

Though the organizers claim the march to be just a memorial for the deceased, it also was an occasion for several in-closet homosexuals to come out in the open. "Many of my homosexual friends had an opportunity to come out and expose their actual sexual leanings today," says Umesh, a homosexual dressed in comical attire.

Today's gay pride march with the theme "Surviving in Culture"‚ also offered an opportunity for all to witness the rapidly transforming Nepali society. And probably, the choice of this particular day for the march also signifies the effort of the homosexuals to make them accepted in society.
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