Kathmandu: Hundreds of people from the
community of homosexuals and transgenders marched together,
singing songs and performing dances, in a colourful display of
gay pride, as Nepal held its first international gay parade
here on Wednesday.
The colourful rally culminated in the lighting of
hundreds of candles, coinciding with the Hindu Cow Festival.
Horse bogies, decorated elephants, cultural floats
also featured during the gay pride parade as gay artists
presented cultural performances.
Irish Lawmaker Dominique Hanningan, also a gay, and
British Ambassador to Nepal John Tucknott were present.
Besides, diplomats from Denmark, Germany, UK and
French embassies also came in to offer support, said Sunil
Babu Panta, gay lawmaker and president of the Blue Diamond
Society, a body dedicated for the welfare of LGBTI (Lesbian,
gay, bisexual, trans-sexual and inter-sex) community.
At least a dozen lesbians and gays from India also
took part in the first international gay parade in Nepal.
"The International Pride Day organised in Nepal is not
just about LGBT people standing up for their rights. Its about
all of us - straight or gay - supporting them in their quest
for equality," British Ambassador John Tucknott said.
"It is about saying no to intolerance, no to
prejudice, no to discrimination, and no to violence," he said.
The rally saw the participation of some 2,500 LGBTI
community people that converged into a gathering at Basantapur
where candles were lit to remember the people from the
community who died this year.
Gaijatra, a Hindu festival is organised to pay homage
to those people who died in the year, and the celebration
coincided with the day.
"We celebrated the occasion to end all kinds of
discriminations against the gay people, to end poverty and to
promote tourism," said Panta, the only gay lawmaker of Nepal.
He said his organisation BDS is working to promote
tourism for the year 2011 when Nepal aims to attract one
million tourists including a large number of gays and lesbians
from around the world.
A separate body, the Pink Mountain Travel Agency has
also been established for promoting gay tourists in the
country, he said.
"If the government pays attention to this specialised
market we can bring in some 200,000 gay and lesbian tourists
from around the year during the tourism year," he said.
He said some 200-300 gay tourists have already arrived
in Nepal this year since a promotion campaign was launched.