First Public Gay Wedding In Nepal

NepalKATHMANDU, NEPAL – Anil Mahaju and Diya Kashyap met about a year ago, were attracted towards each other and, after going steady for some time, decided to tie the knot.
The wedding will be solemnised at a little party in Kathmandu on Saturday attended by friends and well-wishers – but no relatives.
Anil and Diya are not their real names but the names they have chosen for their future life together. Both the groom and “bride” are men and the wedding will be the first public gay marriage in Nepal where homosexuality is a crime, punishable with a year in prison and a fine.
“I am really excited and happy that they have dared to challenge (traditional) culture and family values, where the whole society is oriented towards heterosexual marriage,” says Sunil Pant, president of Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s most prominent gay rights organisation that is offering its premises for the wedding.
“It is very courageous of them and I congratulate them.”
As part of a gay rights organisation, Pant knows better than most the perils homosexuals face in Nepal’s conservative, patriarchal society.
Blue Diamond Society has to routinely bail out gays and transgenders arrested by police on weekends, beaten up, detained without trial and even sexually assaulted inside police stations.
Blue Diamond Society had also informed human rights organisations about the murder of a teenager in southern Nepal, allegedly by his father, after his family discovered he was gay.
About six years ago, two women in the tourist town of Pokhara decided to get “married” in secret. But the local media got hold of the news and the ensuing blaze of publicity resulted in the women’s families first throwing them out and then trying to keep them locked up forcibly.
Though the couple came to Kathmandu and tried to start afresh by opening a small grocery, they continue to be harassed by local toughs, including security personnel.
While Anil is a 28-year-old graphics designer, Diya is a 22-year-old working at Blue Diamond Society as an outreach worker counselling on the spread of HIV/AIDS through unsafe sex and other problems faced by the community.
Their wedding, according to Pant, will be a simple, semi-traditional affair in which they will exchange rings and garlands before witnesses, followed by a little feast for the guests.
However, there will be no priests chanting the traditional wedding mantras.
The “revolutionary” wedding takes place at a time Blue Diamond Society and two other organisations, Mitini Nepal and Shakti Samuha, are asking for gay rights to be included in the new constitution of Nepal.
They want changes in the citizenship law where tesrolingis, transgenders, would be recognised as tesrolingis in the citizenship card and other government certificates, which currently have just two genders, male and female.
They also want the fundamental right of equal wage regardless of gender and recognition of marriage or civil union between two individuals regardless of their gender and sexual orientation.
from The Times Of India

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