Hundreds March in Nepal in Support of Gay Rights
POKHARA, Nepal (AP) - Gays, lesbians, transgender people and their supporters marched in a Nepalese town Friday to demand recognition as a third gender in citizen certificates, to allow same-sex marriage and to criminalize discrimination based on sexual preference.
Dressed in colorful clothes, laden with beads and other jewelry, they danced to Bollywood music played over loudspeakers as they marched for about 3 kilometers (2 miles) though the center of Pokhara, a resort town 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of the capital, Katmandu.
Sunil Babu Pant of the Blue Diamond Society, a group which supports sexual minorities in Nepal, said the rally was an opportunity for people to come out.
"The rally gives us an opportunity to seek the support of the public and be more visible in the society. There are more and more people coming out in the open and this rally gives them a chance," Pant said.
Pant, a former parliament member, has been campaigning for rights of sexual minorities to be written the in new constitution, which was being written by the Constitution Assembly before it expired earlier this year. A new assembly is scheduled to be elected in November.
Nepal’s Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the government should issue citizenship certificates with a third gender. The government said it would, but the process is taking time.
Pant said those seeking the third gender certificates were not able to get jobs or passports, enroll in colleges and own property because of the delay and the government was not doing enough to help out their community.