KATHMANDU: Gender and sexual minorities from different walks of life raised a whole range of issues pertaining to equal rights and their implementation, during a workshop on Thursday, organised by Mitini Nepal which works for LGBTIQ rights in the country.
In the workshop titled ‘Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee on the Legal Provision of LGBTI Community’ held at Alfa House, New Baneshwar, the sexual and gender minorities were given a space to find out more about their rights and share their stories.
During the workshop, legislative committee lawmakers, women parliamentarians and other leaders urged the participants to voice their concerns as far as possible to project the ground reality, in a country that is gradually embracing gender and sexual diversity.
It was pointed out that socially, dignity should be common for people of all genders and sexual orientations and must come without conditions. People should be respected and given their spaces. They should be allowed the freedom of expression and choice.
“You can’t force me to wear clothes I don’t like, I will throw it off my body, eventually,” said Monika Tamang, a sexual minority. Tamang, was forcefully married when she came out as everyone in her family thought she was “mentally ill”. She added, “If policymakers and other people in power do not listen to our plights, then who will?”
With absolutely no parental or family support, there are many consequences of coming out. It costs individuals their freedom and dignity. Subasana Gurung, also a sexual minority, while speaking about her employment struggle after coming-out, remembers how she was told to not come under public scrutiny and hide instead, every time she reached out to policymakers for her rights. Her story left many in tears.
Advocate Dipak Raj Joshi thoroughly briefed the workshop participants about legalities and barriers related to LGBTIQ issues. He opined how laws should be made keeping in mind LGBTIQ concerns and not by assaulting their rights. People should be conscious and address people in the correct manner without hurting any sentiments, he added.
Another participant spoke about teachers who are ashamed to educate students on matters related to sex and gender, leaving students to their own means to second guess. “Less information in the education sector leads to a backward society,” he said. Most of us are harassed everywhere as we continue to fight for basic human rights, right to employment, special quota, marriage equality, child adoption, among others.
Member of Parliament (MP) Rameshwor Ray Yadav of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) said, all humans should live with dignity and respect. “It’s a slow and steady process and discrimination against the LGBTIQ individuals should not be entertained at any cost,” he added.
Lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokharel said that people should question stereotypes; all human beings should be valued and their existence acknowledged, no matter what their gender or sexual orientation is. “To mock and laugh at people for their gender should end,” he asserted. LGBTIQ rights is a very important campaign and it is vital to address human rights violations, based on gender and sexual orientation, in order to secure equal rights.
The event, which concluded with a closing remark from the President of Mitini Nepal, Laxmi Ghalan, was a platform to share and discuss stories, which reflect the ingrained identity struggle but also focuses on solutions to form a more just society.