Over 1000 young people from LGBTQ community marched from Maitighar Mandala to New Baneshwor carrying rainbow flags and post card with various slogans.
Organized by Queer Youth Group, many people joined Nepal’ first pride parade marking the Pride Month today. They marched from New Baneshwor to Maitighar Mandala.
However, Blue Diamond Society, a founder group of LGBT Rights in Nepal, absented from the Pride Parade.
As the LGBT groups around the around, Nepalese LGBTs also divided in two fronts to hold Pride Rally. Since 2002, Nepal has celebrated its own pride march on Gaijatra. Organized by Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s first LGBTIQ advocacy organization, this annual pride march, attracts attendees from around the country.
However, younger members of Kathmandu’s queer community are attempting to move away from the pride march’s association with Gaijatra in order to amplify advocacy around the entire community.
“Our aim is to draw attention of large number of people,” said Rukshana Kapali, a member of Queer Youth Group. “If we are to challenge social perceptions about the queer community, taking to the streets should mean we are standing for equal rights and visibility.”
According to Pinkey Gurung, chairperson of Blue Diamond Society, the Gaijatra pride march started as a means to commemorate people from the LGBTIQ community who had lost their lives to AIDS.
“The concept of pride month is a foreign one that originally comes from the US. So, organizing a pride march during Gaijatra is also about owning the queer issue in a culturally accepted setting,” said Gurung.
Blue Diamond Society is credited for bringing LGBTIQ rights to the political forefront. It was the primary plaintiff in the public interest litigation case registered against the Nepal government, which led the Supreme Court of Nepal to recognize transgender individuals as “third gender”.
While the queer community has hailed the Supreme Court as a landmark victory, many younger members believe that the state is using that same verdict to box all queer people into the ‘third gender’ category, refusing to acknowledge identity and orientation on a spectrum.
“The queer discourse in Nepal is evolving, which is natural for every movement. Sharing diverse experience and perceptions are how any movement can grow,” said Subha Kayastha, a member of the Queer Rights Collective, a safe space coalition of people from across the gender and sexual spectrum working with Queer Youth Group to organize Saturday’s pride parade.
Queer Youth Group is also attempting to move away from the term LGBTIQ, a popular acronym to describe the queer community collectively, as they believe a new term is needed to be more inclusive of the diverse queer spectrum. Rather, they’ve adopted another acronym: MOGAI (pronounced ‘muggy’) as an umbrella term, which stands for marginalized orientation (sexual/romantic), gender alignment (identity/expressions), and intersex bodily variation.
June 29 marks as the 50th anniversary of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 that sparked the modern gay rights movement – is as much a metaphor for a clash of ideas as it is a logistical fact.
Photo courtesy to Deshsanchar.com