Pride Parade of Nepali LGBTI (with video)
Kathmandu (Pahichan) August 21 – People who have separate identity than male and female, celebrate Gaijatra festival as a freedom day. Members of this community are celebrating this festival with the establishment of Blue Diamond Society in 2001.
This day, members of this community come out in the street wearing dresses as per their wishes. For the whole year, they are compelled to live in suffocation and isolation so this is a freedom day for them. This year, this community celebrated this festival with a slogan of ‘our festival our pride.’
Chairman of Blue Diamond Society Pinky Gurung said they celebrated festival in the remembrance of those we died in the past year and as an original festival of this community. “In the initial days, there was not conducive atmosphere of coming out disclosing their identity and we use to feel happy to disclose our identity,” said Gurung.
Outside Kathmandu valley, pride parade has been organized once in Pokhara and Chitwan. There has not been such pride projects in other cities of Nepal. Lex Limbu who first attended the pride parade held in Chitwan, also attended this year’s pride projects. He underlined the need of organizing pride parade on daily basis. He said members of this community should support each other. Now, there is better situation for this community. LGBTI pride parade is being celebrated in Nepal every year.
According to Gurung, there are not any problems in celebrating this festival. Gurung is of the view that though constitution has guaranteed the rights of this community, the situation of this community remains same.
“This festival is clearly linked to our rights,” Gurung said. Government minsters and representatives of diplomatic community are attending the pride parade. This year’s pride parade was attended by American Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry, Australian Ambassador to Nepal and German Ambassador to Nepal. Members of this community also organized program in Tudhikhel inviting the artists. Altogether 410 people attended this year’s pride parade.
On the occasion of Pride Parade, Sunil Babu Pant, member of Constituent Assembly and founder of BDS has delivered a message. The full text of his message:
I am here to greet you and wish you all the best on the occasion of GaiJatra(Saa Paaru) Pride Festival of Nepal. This reminds me the first pride festival that was organized by Blue Dimaond Society back in 2002, we were only 48 members of Sexual and gender minorities, anxiously marching from Lazimpat, where Blue Diamond Society office was located in Kathmandu then. When we reached Thamel (tourist area middle of Kathmandu), bystanders and pedestrians started cheering up; we felt safer, encouraged and confident; the crowd also started following us and joining the fun (we had music bands and extravagant and colorful ‘drag-queens’ dancing, we also had banners and placards demanding safety, security, rights and equality). By the time we reached Bashantapur Durbar Square(heart of Kathmandu), we had the mass with us, literally. That was very successful event, but we had no idea that the event was “history in the making” itself. Now thousands of members of sexual and gender minorities, supporters, allies, families and friends as well as foreigners and expats join this annual festival. Unfortunately I miss the festival this year too,as I have been missing it for last several years. I hope many of you will join the Gaijatra festival, making it even grander. Wish you all the best. Celebrate diversity; Celebrate life