Nepal to host largest gay parade next month
Kathmandu: A popular tourist hub in Southern Nepal is set to host the country's largest gay parade next month coinciding with the centuries old Gaijatra or cow festival.
Elephant processions, cultural models, masked dance and musical programmes will be showcased during the gay parade on August 14, according to Sunil Babu Panta, gay rights activist and president of Blue Diamond Society, that advocates rights for sexual minorities.
It will be a grand occasion as thousands of gays and lesbians from 40 districts across the country are expected to attend the parade, he said adding "this will be the first gay parade organised outside Kathmandu".
Gaijatra is a Hindu festival during which people decorated like cows are taken to streets in procession with the hope that the souls of near and dear will achieve salvation.
Chitawan, which will host the gay parade is situated on the banks of Narayani river and the third important tourist destination in Nepal after Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Cultural procession of five development regions of the country on elephant back will be one of the main attractions of the event, Panta said.
Last month, Kathmandu hosted the first open same sex marriage in South Asia with American lesbian couple tying nuptial knot as per Hindu tradition.
Nepal has become a safe place for sexual minorities after the country amended its constitution following the Peoples Movement of 2006 that allows same sex marriage.