This September, Nepal is set to host the country’s first – and indeed Asia’s first – national games for LGBT persons.
Covering a two-week period, the games will showcase LGBT sportspersons competing in games and sports including volleyball, football, athletics, martial arts, tennis and more.
The games are being organised by the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s LGBT rights group. Sunil Babu Pant, head of the group and organiser of the games, said: “There will be five teams from each region of the country. And we expect over 200 people to take part.”
Mr Pant, who is Nepal’s first openly gay lawmaker, founded BDS in 2001 to protect the rights of LGBT persons in a country where sexual minorities are regularly discriminated against.
He added: “We have already booked Dasrath Rangshala, the national stadium, for the event. This will be South Asia’s – and probably Asia’s – first such games for the LGBT community.
“The aims for organising this event are to mainstream LGBT [persons] into the larger society, promote healthy lifestyles and promote health mentally and spiritually.”
Although it has not been independently verified, Nepal is estimated to have a population of 3,50,000-plus LGBT citizens.
Besides working for the sexual minorities, BDS also participates in promoting Nepal as a gay-friendly tourist destination and has even organised beauty contests for members of the community.
In 2007, based on Mr Pant’s petition, the Nepal Supreme Court in a landmark judgement ordered the government to frame equal laws for LGBT citizens. As a result, Nepal will soon become the first country in Asia to give equal rights to its LGBT population, which means citizenship IDs for trans persons and legal recognition for marriage between same-sex couples.