Underage same-sex couple face mistreatment, seek acceptance

Underage same-sex couple face mistreatment, seek acceptance

Kailali : Reshma Sunar (name changed for security reason) of Magartol Solta of Mohanyal Rural Municipality-6 in Kailali district has turned 17. Reshma, who was assigned female at birth, has a male gender identity. Reshma fell in love with Sita Sunar (name changed), a lesbian, who was her classmate.

Both of them were eighth grader. Gradually, their relations grew stronger and ultimately resulted in a marriage. Recently, they eloped and got married. Reshma’s family accepted and welcomed them in their home. However, Sita’s family did not accept their marriage objecting to their same-sex marriage. They went out of their way and thrashed Sita intending to separate them as a couple.

The incident made the rounds in no time, and the locals came to their rescue and took them to the Area Police Office, Sugarkhal.

Some people in the village came to the defend of the couple. Jayanand Jaishi, Former Chief Administrative Officer of the rural municipality, said that the rights of homosexuals should not be violated.

“It is their wish, there is no harm in getting married, but marriage is not legally possible because they are underage,” he said, “I think that when boys do not improve their behavior, girls are attracted to girls who love them.”

The incident of men beating their wives under the influence of alcohol and kicking them out of house might be driving girls to get attracted to girls, he said. “Everyone in the village has been surprised at the marriage between two girls,” he said to Mayako Pahichan Nepal, a social organisation advocating for the rights of the sexual and gender minorities, “I tried to coordinate and advocate that homosexuals also have equal rights.”

We will live together for life, come what may

Although they got married to live together, Sita’s family did not accept them as a couple and beat them, said the couple. “We want to live together, now I have given shelter to Sita in my house,” said Reshma, “Sita was beaten by her family, now we are returning after treatment.” She said she would not cause any pain to Sita and live together forever.

As the law of Nepal does not allow people to get married below 20, Reshma, 17, and 16-year-old Sita have been handed over to their relatives by the local police office, Sugarkhal.

The police said that although there is no restriction for them to live together, they are prohibited from getting married as they are not legally fit for this. “The couple insisted to get married and live together,” said Senior Sub Inspector Bam Bahadur Khadka, “There is no problem for them to live together, but we have handed over them to their families convincing them that they will get married when they reach their legal age.”

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