Nepal welcomes Ambassador Randy Berry

Kathmandu (Pahichan) September 12 – I have seen Gay or Lesbian diplomats who served in Nepal choose not to support or speak up for LGBTI cause because of several reasons: they believe they would cause discomfort among their Nepali counterparts; they also believe they would be blame for pushing something culturally foreign (which is a myth); or the biggest fear they usually have is that they believe they would be blame for investing into LGBTI cause which is not a priority for both sides (the missions they represent and the Nepal government, which is unfortunately true). And I have seen these diplomats becoming out of reach for LGBTI communities as they wanted to protect their ‘perceived’ professional-image. So it’s not always a good news to have gay or lesbian diplomats in countries like Nepal.

But, Randy Berry’s confirmation as the next U.S. ambassador to Nepal is a welcome news.

Mr Berry knows Nepal very well as he was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Nepal from 2007–2009. During that period Nepal went through rapid transitions: civil war ended, first constituent assembly election was held, we(LGBTI) won the landmark supreme court case of 2007 that established LGBTI rights and I got elected as a member of Member of Parliament in 2008. During his time, the US mission played crucial role to promote democracy and human rights for all in Nepal.

As Mr Berry was appointed as the first special U.S. envoy to promote LGBTI rights globally in 2015, LGBTI issues are not new to Mr Barry. Timing is crucial as Nepal showing greater degree of hesitance to move forward in terms of protecting equal rights to LGBTIs in Nepal for the last few years and failed to make LGBTI inclusive laws (including recently applied civil code and criminal code), especially after having such an inclusive constitution in 2015 that guarantees equal rights and protection for LGBTI citizens.

Despite Nepal being sandwiched between India and China, US still has great influence in Nepal as it does globally. There are many important issues to look into as an Ambassador but many missions have failed to pay any attention to LGBTI matters as many, unfortunately, believe LGBTI matters are of less important. I hope under Mr Berry’s leaderships US missions in Nepal will give deserving attention to LGBTI causes including moral support, diplomatic support, political support. US is one of the largest bilateral donor to Nepal, I hope US mission also become more inclusive of LGBTIs to their several projects that help Nepal: empowerment projects, human rights and democracy building projects, education and health projects etc.

Nepal welcomes you, Ambassador Randy Berry!!!!!