Nepal holds first Pride parade in Kathmandu
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Kathmandu on Saturday (June 29) as Nepal held its first ever Pride parade.
According to local media, Nepal has celebrated the LGBT+ community with marches and parades since 2002, however, this event marks the first time such an occasion has been put on during Pride season.
The parade was organised by the Queer Youth Group (QYG) and the Queer Rights Collective alongside other LGBT+ groups within the country that helped raise funds.
An annual Pride march, organised by the Blue Diamond Society, is held during the festival of Gaijatra in Nepal.
Gaijatra commemorates the lives of the recently deceased and is celebrated with a flamboyant festival where family members dress in extravagant costumes and makeup and take to the streets.
Local activists have been keen to hold an independent Pride parade to increase LGBT+ visibility in the country.
Transgender campaigner and QYG member, Rukshana Kapali, told the Himalayan Times they were overcome with emotions seeing such a diverse group of people and identities coming together to celebrate.
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Kapali also explained that the new parade — which coincides with Pride Season across the world — increases visibility of the community and provides a separate platform for people to celebrate their sexuality and gender identity.
“There has always been a romanticisation of Nepal as being one of the more tolerant countries in Asia; however, the ground reality is very different. The laws are not actually implemented making it more difficult for our community,” said Kapali.
Nepal decriminalised homosexuality in 2007 but LGBT+ people still struggle for representation and equal rights.
The Nepali Civil and Criminal Code does not recognise same-sex marriage and defines marriage as a union of two people of opposite genders.