Published On: August 23, 2021 07:20 PM NPT By: Sangita Shrestha

'Virtual Gaijatra Pride Event' concludes

'Virtual Gaijatra Pride Event' concludes

On the occasion of Gaijatra, the US Embassy Kathmandu hosted 'Virtual Gaijatra Pride Event: Celebration, Resilience, and Determination of the LGBTQI+ Community' , to celebrate LGBTQI+ pride with US Ambassador Randy Berry, activist and human rights activists Angel Lama, author Niranjan Kunwar, and folk singer Prakash Saput on Monday.

Former Miss Nepal and renowned media personality Malvika Subba was the emcee for the event. The event began with a musical performance by singer Prakash Saput where he sang Mayako Mukhaima Chini.

Then, the panel discussion that covered the themes related current state of LGBTQI+ rights in Nepal; connection of Gai Jatra and Pride; ongoing violence and discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals in Nepal and worldwide; and future action for mobilizing awareness and advocating for the human rights and wellbeing of sexual and gender minority communities in Nepal was held.
The Gai Jatra festival is traditionally celebrated to honor loved ones who have passed away the year prior. Since 2004, the local LGBTQI+ community in Nepal has used the occasion to also celebrate Pride. This year, it is the 18th edition of Nepal Pride Parade.

Talking about the significance of pride during the Gaijatra, Angel Lama explained, “Gaijatra creates a platform where people can show their pride and express freely about their sexuality along with advocating about their rights and equality. Gaijatra has given visibility for the LGBTQI+ community in Nepal.”

She added, “Gaijatra has become a very good platform for visibility and to empower each other and convey that we are also human beings and need our rights; and our rights also need to be addressed.”

Agreeing with Lama's statement, US Ambassador Berry explained the global scenario on LGBTQI+ community, where he shared that visibility always plays a vital role for advocating the rights and equality of this community. He added, “Far too many do not know what it is to be in this community. Visibility is the absolute key where it is hard to believe which is not tangible, and through pride is putting a face and name to promote around the world.”

Meanwhile, Kunwar explained having an inclusive proactive education system and shared, “Due to ignorance, the community is suffering. The suffering continues not only to this community, but to others as well due to cultural, social and economical aspects in Nepal. However, teachers and principals are needed to be educated about the sex education. Though there are courses related to sex education teachers simply skip the course out of hesitation and ignorance. There are some changes in the curriculum as for now; we are at the stage where they cannot ignore LGBTQI+ issue.”
The event is aimed at supporting the US government’s commitment to LGBTQI+ individuals across Nepal in their pursuit of equality, liberty and justice.

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