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Hundreds join Nepal’s first international gay pride parade

in NEPAL, 31/08/2010

Hundreds of gays, lesbians and transsexuals marched in Nepal's ninth gay pride parade in the Nepalese capital last Wednesday.

Although the parade is in its ninth year, the event is the first international gay pride march to be held in Kathmandu as described by organiser Sunil Pant, an openly gay Nepalese parliamentarian and founder of LGBT advocacy group Blue Diamond Society. As it was done in previous years, the march was timed to coincide with the Hindu festival of Gai Jatra which commemorates the death of a relative during the year.

The event was reportedly attended by tourists and foreign ambassadors including the British Ambassador to Nepal, John Tucknott, who released a statement about his embassy's participation: "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," 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."

The statement also read: "We are committed to placing human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Everyone, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, should be free to enjoy the full rights and freedoms accorded to the people of Nepal."

Nepal became the first country in the world in 2008 to officially recognise a "third gender" following the Supreme Court's landmark ruling. The Himalayan country could be the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage if the bill that is going through parliament is approved.

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