Rainbow flags fluttered while the rainbow umbrellas covered the Maitighar Mandala, a symbolic monument located in the heart of Kathmandu, as young activists gathered for the pride parade in Nepal on June 29, 2019.
Though an LGBTQ+ parade is celebrated every year during Gaijatra — a Nepali festival commemorating the dead and the alleviation of pain through humour that usually takes place sometime in August or September — this was the first time that such an event took place during international Pride Month. It brought together people of diverse genders and sexual orientations, evident in the wide assortment of placards on display.
Organizers of the pride parade wrote on Facebook:
Pride Parades are not just events for visibility and celebration of diverse sex, gender and sexual orientations, but also a struggle for equality. This year's theme on Pride Parade is: Inclusion of queer (gender and sexual minorities) at all levels of state and decision-making process[es].
Despite the inclusion in the Constitution, none of the bodies have any queer representative[s]. Lets [sic] join hands to celebrate the diversity of sex, gender and sexual orientation. #NepalPrideParade
The first ever pride parade in Nepal on the Pride Month led by young people, Queer Youth Group and Queer Collective Nepal was successfully celebrated today.#NPP2019 #NepalPrideParade pic.twitter.com/AiLX151LAi
— Queer Youth Group (@QueerYouthGroup) June 29, 2019
— Niranjan Kunwar (@MetroNir) June 29, 2019
So inspiring to see young Nepalis actively participating in the movement for LGBTQI rights in Nepal. The energy at today's pride parade was undeniably infectious.
Happy #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/JuFOOfcfoZ
— Tsering D. Gurung (@Tsering_) June 29, 2019
Although Nepal has been somewhat progressive when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights — third gender activist Bhumika Shrestha received a passport with her gender marked as “O” for “Other” in 2015 and the Supreme Court of Nepal formally acknowledged the existence of a third gender on December 21, 2007 — there is still a long way to go.
Full of zeal and enthusiasm, the parade participants demanded equal rights, including same-sex marriage and the ability to adopt children. As they paraded from Maitighar Mandala to New Baneshwor, they also used the event as an opportunity to educate people about the diverse queer community, well beyond the regular term LGBTQ+.
— Loom Nepal (@LoomNepal) June 29, 2019
— Jensa (@threetreetownn) June 29, 2019
Check out photos from the event, all taken by the author: