A senior parliament official speaks against the rights of sexual and gender minority

Kathmandu (Pahichan) December 24 – A senior official of Parliament Secretariat has spoken hard on the rights of sexual and gender minority. Sudharshan Khadka, secretary at Parliament’s State Affairs and Good Governance, said that issues of sexual and gender minority is not a national priority issue.

When asked whether there are any suggestions from this community on Citizenship Act, he asked, “Is it a national issue?  He said that people who are earning dollar are instigating this community and issues raised by this community should not be addressed. “You are writing about this issue because you may get suggestions from group. You get money so that you are raising the issue of this community,” he said, a clear harassment to Pahichan Media correspondent who had reached Singhadurbar to know the progress made so far on this issue.

There has been some important development in Nepal when it comes to providing rights of sexual and gender minority.  In 2064 BS Poush 6, Supreme Court ordered government to provide citizenship to the members of this community as per their gender identity. Court’s ruling has become an important international document. Ministry of Home Affairs has already instructed district administration offices to issue citizenship on the basis of identity.

 Recently, India’s Supreme Court also took Nepal’s reference on its verdict of decriminalizing same-sex relation. Nepal is at the forefront in South Asia when it comes to the rights of sexual and gender minority.  It is unfortunate that a senior official at Parliament has said that it is not a national issue.

Khadka, however, was very aggressive to the demands of sexual and gender minority. “Today they are demanding citizenship, tomorrow they demand the right of marry. Our culture and society does not allow homosexual marriage,” he told Pahichan correspondent.

A government committee formed following Supreme Court order has already submitted a report to government with a view that same-sex marriage could be legalized. Some developed countries such as Australia has legalized same-sex marriage through referendum. Khadka, however, does not take it a natural phenomenon.

Khadka’s statement also goes against the constitution. The article 18 of constitution has clearly recognized this community. Government will have to formulate laws to implement constitutional provisions.  The article 42 of constitution has ensured the right to equality and social inclusion. There are not official records of sexual and gender minority in Nepal.

Without official record of this community, it is very hard to ensure the representation of this community in state mechanism. However, it is a positive development that this community has constitutional rights. In this scenario, there is a need of unity among sexual and gender minority. Only unity among members of this community can give us strength to fight for the rights of this community.