For the very first time, the rainbow flag has been flown in Nepal, as part of the country’s observance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT).
The Pride flag was raised high above the United Nations House in Kathmandu, with a ceremony marking Nepal’s commitment to LGBTQI rights, Gay Star News reports.
Pinky Gurung from local gay rights organisation The Blue Diamond Society spoke at the event and stressed the importance of families supporting their LGBTQI children.
“The struggle of sexual and gender minorities first starts within us and our families," she said.
"Because for many of us support from our family, in terms of emotional, economical and physical help, the life of us, sexual and gender minorities, is often hard and difficult.
“There have been many instances where people from this community have even taken the extreme decision of committing suicide, due to the lack of education, health and employment opportunities. These are not just imaginary examples; this is our harsh reality.
“We get motivated and feel confident to fight against social prejudice and exclusion only when our family helps us, supports us and accepts us," said Gurung.
Gurung continued: “We feel very lucky that experts, dignitaries and renowned people are here with us, people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identities, and I would like to thank you all for being with us and standing for equality.
"We feel pride that with the support from you all, Nepal is becoming one of the most LGBTIQ-friendly nations in this entire world. And I truly believe that Nepal would be an LBGTIQ paradise for everyone, soon."
National Human Rights Commissioner Mohna Ansari added that citizens had a responsibility to raise awareness of LGBTQI rights in order to tackle homophobia and transphobia.
“…Educate those who are ignorant and mis-informed, and give proof to those who are prejudiced, that all people, regardless of religion, cast, gender or sexual orientation, once respected and valued, can and will accomplish their full potential,’ she said.
Nepal is one of the most progressive countries in south-east Asia - LGBTQI rights are protected under the nation’s constitution, and the government officially recognises a third gender in the census and on identification documents.