LGBTs get their ‘national anthem’ in Nepal

Third-gender activist’s song about the sorrows of marginalization to hit the market ahead of traditional women’s festival

LGBTs get their ‘national anthem’ in Nepal
21 July 2013

After winning a Supreme Court judgment that allows same-sex marriage and asks the government to make laws to protect their rights, the burgeoning LGBT community in Nepal has another cause to celebrate – getting their own “national anthem”.

The nine-minute-long song, now being shot as a music video, will be released commercially next month when the Himalayan nation observes its traditional Teej festival.

Regarded as a feminine festival during which women, young and old, dress up in red and dance and feast together in an act of solidarity, the event became open to transgenders after Nepal’s political parties and a former prime minister’s wife began to include members of the community in their invitations.

The song, written by a third-gender in her 20s, who calls herself Samikshya, combines the style of folk songs with modern elements that focus on the rising gay rights movement in the once conservative kingdom.

“It’s a powerful song that talks about the sufferings of the sexual and gender minorities in Nepal, their marginalization, stigmatization, lack of protection by law and lack of opportunity,” says Sunil Pant, the founder of the movement in Nepal as well as the Blue Diamond Society, the pioneering gay rights organization.

“It demands respect, identity, rights, dignity and opportunity.”

Once at the bottom of the social hierarchy with zero literacy and employment opportunity, transgenders are now becoming proactive and aware of the changes taking place in the worldwide battle for equality.

Samikshya’s song asks, “Where is my right in the new Nepal?”, referring to the work in progress to write a new constitution. The LGBT community has submitted their demands to the committee drafting the document, outlining what needs to be done for their empowerment.

It also refers to the World Health Organization calling homosexuality a natural condition and not a disease.

“The sexual and gender minorities in Nepal are calling the song their national anthem,” says Pant, the first openly gay member of parliament.

Blue Diamond Society, which helped Samikshya record the song, has also sponsored documentaries on the LGBT community in Nepal, gay beauty pageants and prides that are a clever mix of universal and traditional festivals.

This year, when Nepal holds elections, gay, lesbian and transgender contestants will be vying for more say in the government.
 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

No Supreme Court ruling on Prop 8 and DOMA yet

LGBT community continues wait - decision could come down Thursday or next week
No thumbnail available

Idaho court rules gay couple adoption is legal

Idaho’s state Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians have the right to adopt their spouses’ children in a unanimous verdict on Monday – saying that the state had been misapplying its own law
No thumbnail available

New Orleans gay festival celebrates after Hurricane Isaac

Southern Decadence is set to celebrate a muted 41st year after pastors blamed the festival for the state's destruction
No thumbnail available

Senate in Hawaii easily passes gay marriage

House vote expected to be closer as Hawaii moves closer to becoming 15th US state with marriage equality
No thumbnail available

Ugandan gay activist fears for his life

Gay activist Frank Mugisha too afraid to go out alone after homophobic backlash to article.
No thumbnail available

Adorable royal fairytale teaches kids all love is equal

Olly Pike and his trusty balloon, Pop, share a heart-warming love story featuring Prince Henry and his servant Tom in their latest animation
No thumbnail available

Italian Catholic Church likens gay parenting to selling children

The Catholic hierarchy and the right-wing parties said that 'a child should have a father and a mother, not two gay parents'. The high court said that gay parents are 'as good as straight ones'
No thumbnail available

Icelanders book out event by anti-gay US evangelist to protest his views

Two free events by US evangelist Franklin Graham have sold out in Iceland – but not for the reasons he would have hoped for
No thumbnail available

Magda's coming out party

Public coming-out of Australian comedian Magda Szubanski greeted with floods of support
No thumbnail available

Watch: India's first lesbian ad is just beautiful

Video goes viral despite anti-gay law