To commemorate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Month, U.S. Embassy Kathmandu today hosted a screening of two short films about social and personal acceptance of gender and sexual minorities at its newly inaugurated Innovation Hub. The screening of The Story of Nilu – Stories of Being Me and Samanayan (Togetherness) was followed by a discussion of the issues faced by the LGBTI community in Nepal.
The Embassy’s Human Rights Officer, Geoffrey Chanin, highlighted the landmark Supreme Court decision on June 26, 2015 declaring state laws banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the United States. To honor the landmark verdict, the U.S. Embassy is flying banners in the colors of the rainbow – one of the symbols of LGBTI community pride – at the Embassy building in Maharajgunj.
Film makers Govinda Siwakoti, Surath Giri and Nilu Doma Sherpa talked about the role of media in raising awareness and shared personal stories. LGBTI community and rights activists in Nepal were heartened and inspired by the ruling, participants said.
Several LGBTI activists, including Pinky Gurung of the leading advocacy group Blue Diamond Society and Bharat Shrestha of UNDP, contributed to the discussion about ensuring equal rights for LGBTI people in Nepal. Forme Miss Nepal Malvika Subba and actress Priyanka Karki discussed how they use their fame to combat stigma and discrimination.
The new Innovation Hub located inside the FNCCI building in Teku, is open to the public and features computers with access to research databases, free Wi-Fi, a circulating collection of books and a children’s corner. The Innovation Hub will be hosting unique programming for students, civil society groups, business owners and the general public.