- August 13, 2014
Post submitted by Bo Suh, HRC Digital Media Intern
Every year, hundreds of LGBT Nepalese citizens take over Gaijatra, a Hindu festival celebrating the dead. In a sort of informal Pride march, the annual festival becomes a celebration for LGBT Nepalese people and an opportunity for them to openly express themselves.
Nepal is still a socially conservative Hindu country, but it has made several strides toward LGBT equality. It was the first South Asian country to decriminalize same-sex activity in 2007 and is currently on the books to consider legalizing same-sex marriage, according to the Associated Press.
Nepal’s government structure has provided LGBT activists with an opportunity to demand recognition. The country’s transition from autocratic rule to democracy prompted LGBT groups, as well as ethnic minorities, to demand rights and recognition.
"It is not going to dent the culture or religion," Laxman Acharya, a Hindu priest, told the AP. "If two people are happy then no one should say anything."
However, the news is not all positive, as the law ministry is currently working to reverse Nepal’s Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized same-sex activity and stall the movement for marriage equality, according to Gay Star News. The new laws would not only affect LGBT people; they would also ban certain sexual acts for heterosexuals and narrow the definition of rape to only apply to women.