LGBT community marks Pride Month with hope and fear

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06/21/2019

The month of June is inter­nationally recognized as the LGBT Pride Month. The month-long celebrations are aimed at fighting for equal rights, increasing social visi­bility, and celebrating sexual and gender diversity. June was selected as the Pride Month to commemorate the Stone­wall riots of 28 June, 1969, following a police raid in Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. These riots would became an impetus for Pride marches. In Nepal, no such declaration of Pride Month has been made and queer events have only recently started garnering social attention. Nepal nonetheless has a vibrant queer community. Culturally, cross-dressing and transgender people have always existed in Nepal. Transgender women (called ‘metis’ in Nepali) were traditionally believed to ward off evil spirits at wedding ceremonies or at childbirth. Among the Gurungs, there is a tradition of men dressing up as women and performing the maaruni dance. In 2007 Nepal government legalized homosexuality, cross-dressing and began allowing a third gender option on documents. And yet, twelve years on, discussion on gender and sexual diver­sity is not only scarce but also prejudiced.

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