Recognise gays

The pride march organised by the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), an association of same-sex individuals, on Friday testifies that they have now come a long way since the members of this community were forced to huddle in some murky restaurants to hold a meeting in the recent past. Aside from the scornful stares and sly remarks from some bystanders, their rally otherwise went ahead smoothly as planned. This lends evidence to the fact that it would not have been possible for this group to organise such a march, if there was not an unspoken acceptance on the public’s part to a certain degree about their existence. Times are changing — and changing very fast. An individual’s preference to chose a same-sex partner, in other words, should matter the least, if not at all, for the Nepali society on its way towards a more freer, more accommodating and more open path.

Among others, the right to chose a partner lies squarely within an individual’s basic rights. This does not preclude anybody from opting a same-sex partner. By the same token, several Western countries have gone on to accept the gays as any other component of their society. So much so that a deeply divided Episcopal Church over the gay issue even appointed a gay bishop, Gene Robinson in the US last August. But closer home, things have not been so forthcoming for the gay community. Policemen are alleged to have abused the members of the gay community and are accused of dealing with heavy handedness. That is because the State does not recognise their existence. However, the BDS this time collaborated with a range of organisations such as the Forum for Women Law and Development, Maiti Nepal, Pro Public, Nav Kiran Plus and Nepal Plus in organising the march. More may support the Society next time. A trend has already been set. The winds of change have arrived.Although the awareness about gays is gradually gaining steam, lack of explicit laws supporting their existence has complicated the issue. There is a need for the Nepali society to reframe its charters to enshrine the rightful existence of such a community, whose existence is not being formally accepted until now. This will also prevent the police from acting as moral custodians. They can be helped and regulated only by timely amendments to the statute that has insofar not a single mention of the gay community in it. After all, acceptance of all forms of individuals, irrespective of one’s sexual inclinations, sex, caste, creed and communal affiliations is the essence of a society where rule of law reigns supreme. Norms, after all, are made for the people. It is time the Nepalis and the State considered recognising the existence of gays.