From Barriers to Bridges in Nepal

Bangkok,Thailand(Pahichan) September 26

“From Barriers to Bridges”, an Asia Pacific Regional Conference for Transgender Rights and Health was held in Pullman King Power Hotel, Bangkok Thailand. Transgender and allies from twenty different countries of Asia Pacific participated in the conference from 20 to 22 September. This conference brought together over 150 healthcare providers, government representatives, academics, national human rights institutions, development partners, and trans community members from 15 countries in the region for 3 days to explore and disseminate information and resources on emerging best practices and lessons learned from HIV service delivery models for trans communities.

In this conference, nine participants from Nepal had gone. The conference organized by Asia Pacific Transgender Network has Manisha Dhakal, who is the Executive Director of Blue Diamond Society, is also a founder member of the network, took stand on legal gender recognization in the press release that was a day before the conference.

On the first panel, Bharat Sharma, director of Ministry of women, children and social welfare had his presentation on current provision of transgender and gender sexual minorities in Nepal. He explained on how the current constitution of Nepal has protected the rights of transgender people and their gender identification. He added on how Nepalese laws are going to be formed which shall be friendly to transgender people.

In the second panel, Rukshana Kapali from Youth Lead, a regional organization for education and leadership of youths, had spoken as a panelist. In the panel, Rukshana including other transgender from other various countries of Asia pacific, spoke on personal experiences and experiences of life.

She being the youngest in the panel spoke on the experiences as a open transgender activist in the society who is running campaigns for indigenous, ethnic, social and LGBTI issues, with coverage of diverse fields and its intersection. She explained the issues of young transgender people in Nepal. The issues of social acceptance, family problems, problems in schools and colleges, compelled for sex working, discrimination and stigmatization issues were spoken.


In the other session Manisha Dhakal was a moderator in the panel which was on the social and community services. The vast majority of transgender people across the region are unable to obtain any official identification documents that reflect their gender identity. This lack of gender recognition fosters widespread social exclusion, stigmadiscrimination and violence when individuals are perceived to deviate from gender norms because their gender identity and/or expression does not coincide with their sex assigned at birth.

In the conference Rewa Regmi from Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Simran Serchan from Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities Nepal, Bharat Shrestha and Ivana Lohar from UNDP, Peggie from Care and Support and Bhakti Shah from Gender and Sexual Minorities Student Forum also participated in the conference.

The #TransHealthAsia Conference concluded last Friday. The transgender community came in full force together with their partners from their respective governments, health providers, NHRIs, academia and development partners. Country workplans were developed by the delegates with follow-ups to be supported by Asia Pacific Transgender NetworkUNDP in Asia and the Pacific and UNAIDS Asia Pacific.