The World Health Organization Representative Dr Jos Vandelaer reminded everyone that the Nepal Constitution protects every citizen from discrimination irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Addressing the program representing the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Valerie Julliand at the LGBTIQ Rainbow Flag hoisted ceremony, he said that the federal system that devolves power at the local levels offers an amazing opportunity to build a nation in which every person, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity, lives free of discrimination; a Nepal that prides itself in being inclusive, diverse, and one that leaves no one behind.
“The global theme of this year’s commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is “Alliances for Solidarity,” he said.
Before, leading the raising of the LGBTIQ Rainbow Flag, the WHO Representative said that today with the raising of the LGBTIQ Rainbow Flag, for the second time in our United Nations House, the UN shows that we indeed contribute to an equitable Nepal that does not leave anyone behind. This cannot be just the vision of the UN, or just the vision of the Government of Nepal. It must be a movement driven by all people.”
According to a press release issued by UNIC-Nepal, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer and Questioning persons still face acts of discrimination, including by their family. They also face prejudice in employment, health care and education. Laxmi Ghalan, founder of Mitini Nepal, mentioned that society continues to view LGBTIQ people through a lens of fear and phobia; depriving many from the right to live with dignity in our Nepali society.
She said: “For equality, sustainable development, peace, freedom and democracy, we need active participation of everyone – including people from sexual and gender minorities at the decision-making level.” Wenny Kusuma, the UN Women Representative in Nepal, and the UN Globe Coordinator for Nepal explained that ‘coming out’ is LGBTIQ people's self-disclosure of their sexual orientation or of their gender identity.
It reinforces a view that heterosexuality is the norm. “Coming out,” she said, “announces that gay people are different, and not the norm. It says that [homo] sexuality is so different that it must be proclaimed. We live in a world in which one is always assumed to be heterosexual.
Nobody asks: “when did you know that you were heterosexual?” UN Globe fights for the equality and non-discrimination of LGBTIQ staff in the UN and in its peacekeeping operations. Manisha Dhakal, the executive director of the Blue Diamond Society, spoke on behalf of the ‘National Federation on Sexual and Gender Minorities’ She said: “We LGBTIQ people of Nepal are very fortunate that we can participate in this rainbow flag raising ceremony, as many of our fellow LGBTIQ community members in many countries around the world cannot, because of legal and social hostility.
Because of the hard work of the Blue Diamond Society, Mitini, others in the LGBTIQ community and our friends, including many of you UN friends here today, Nepal included LGBTIQ rights and protection in the new Constitution of September 2015.”
She urges the Government to put Article 18 of the Constitution into practice. For this, she gave the example of the Thamel Tourism Development Committee that, with local police, are prohibiting transgender people from entering Thamel, because they blame transgender people for causing problems and committing crimes.
She said: “We LGBTIQ people are responsible citizens. We do not support any crime from anyone, from any background. It is condemn-able that the Police authorities and a local tourism development committee are making a generalized, discriminating assumptions for transgender people. It is the responsibility of the Police to deal with crimes, but to, without any investigation, put a blanket prohibition on a particular gender: THAT IS THE CRIME. It infringes on our constitutional right to free movement.
While the Constitution aims to end gender inequality, we are facing this crackdown from the State. I strongly urge the National Human Rights Commission and Government authorities to take action against such an unjust and discriminatory decision that marginalizes and excludes already historically oppressed gender identities, even more.”