Nepalese MP honoured for work fighting homophobia

Tony Grew January 20, 2009
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An MP from Nepal is one of five people who have been recognised for their significant contributions toward eradicating homophobia.

Sunil Pant will receive the Monette-Horwitz Trust Award, as will Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, and Anastassios Aliferis, the mayor of a Greek island who defied the authorities and married same-sex couples.

Since 1998 the Trust has confered the awards on people or organisations fighting homophobia. Awardees received a $2,500 (£1,790) stipend.

In May Mr Pant, founder of Blue Diamond Society, was named as one of five representatives of the Communist Party of Nepal-United in the 601 member new constituent assembly.

The Maoists are the largest party with 220 seats.

Maoist insurgents, who fought a ten-year guerrilla war against monarchist forces at a cost of over 12,000 lives, finally signed a peace agreement with the new democratic government in November 2006.

LGBT people joined the Maoist rebels and others to protest in a democracy movement against the king, demanding a freely elected, secular government.

King Gyanendra eventually relinquished sovereign power to the civilian government and elections were finally held for a new assembly on 10th April 2008.

Gays and lesbians in the Himalayan kingdom previously suffered persistent persecution from security forces during the absolutist rule of King Gyanendra. The harassment of lesbian, gay and trans people continued at the hands of Maoist rebels.

The assembly will draft a new constitution, decide the fate of the monarchy and govern Nepal for the next two years.

Mr Pant is a hero to many gay activists across the world.

In May 2007 he received the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Celebration of Courage award.

Related topics: Asia

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