The term “LGBTQIA” might be common for some but still many of us fail to understand what exactly it stands for. The acronym LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual. People of LGBTQIA community are still fighting for equal rights and acceptance. Trans people, especially, find a lot of difficulty in finding acceptance.
The LGBTQ community is looked down upon all time. The discrimination against the LGBTQ community is still highly prevalent. Kathmandu Model College (along with BCA students) hosted a webinar on “Pride in Humanitarian” with guest speakers – Mrs. Puspa Lama, a LGBTQIA+ activist and President of JCI Ramgram Lady, and Ms. Dingo Moktan, a member of LGBTQ community. Their conversation covered in-depth information about LGBTQIA+ community.
Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or not, it is so important to understand the issues that impact this community. The webinar was organized for recognizing and remembering the struggles that LGBTQ folks have faced throughout history.
Mrs. Lama listed the rights and issues faced by LGBTQIA+ community. They were unable to obtain ID documents that match their gender identity, struggling to get jobs due to discrimination, and lacking legal protections. Then in 2011, Nepal became the world’s first country to include a third gender on its federal census. And in 2015, the government started issuing passports that recognized three genders which provided right for people to have their preferred gender on their identity cards.
Some of Nepal’s offices have already issued citizenship certificates and passports with a “Gender O” option (for “other”). Ms. Dingo Moktan stressed on Mental illness which is a struggle for many, but it’s especially prevalent in the LGBTQIA+ community because of the discrimination they experience. Self-identification with homosexuality is not easy due to family pressures and social shame.
This can lead to forced marriages with the opposite sex. She also requested everyone to accept one’s identity and be a mental health ally to friends in LGBTQIA+ community. Mrs. Puspa Lama also discussed about The Blue Diamond Society. Talking about the Blue Diamond Society, it was established in 2001, working for sexual minorities in a conservative country like Nepal which still disapproves sexual behaviour other than heterosexual.
The Blue Diamond Society work in Kathmandu with local communities and on a national level with the mission to improve the sexual health, human rights and wellbeing of sexual and gender minorities in Nepal including third-genders, gay men, bisexuals, lesbian, and trans.
” If youths don’t raise awareness for the rights of LGBTQ community now, then after 10 years also, an activist like me will be still giving webinar sessions like this and explaining L stands for lesbian, G stands for gay, T stands for trans and so on….”- Mrs. Lama said.
“There is still much to do to defend the rights of LGBT people in Nepal. Discrimination, prejudice, and violence still exist”- they said. For many, it may not be possible to understand the deep psychosocial difficulties that LGBT people have endured throughout their lifetime. But one thing’s for certain, they too are human beings made in the image of God, and God is same for all people, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.
Shraddha Dangol is a student of 1st semester, BCA at KMC