Over two thousand Nepalese LGBTs and their supporters have marched in the lakeside city of Pokhara to demand that the government deliver on its promises to them.
Pokhara is the country’s second largest city and around 2,500 protestors marched along a two mile route through the city’s Lakeside district overlooking Phewa Lake, as part of the annual Gaijatra folk festival.
Protestors called on the government to deliver on a promise to include a third-gender option in official documents.
‘The LGBT community will, from now onwards, be categorized under “others” as per their wish. Only the technical process remains to be completed in this connection,’ a Home Ministry official told reporters in May.
‘We have already sent a letter to the Law Ministry to add the “others” head in all necessary forms, documents and indexes.’
Protestors, some wearing wedding dresses, also called on the government to legalize same-sex marriage and outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in line with the country’s 2007 Supreme Court verdict.
However Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society is still waiting for the changes to be implemented.
‘The rally gives us an opportunity to seek the support of the public and be more visible in the society,’ Blue Diamond Society director Sunil Pant told the Associated Press.
‘There are more and more people coming out in the open, and this rally gives them a chance.’
The Gaijatra festival is one of the oldest festivals in the Kathmandu valley region and is used by Buddhists and Hindus to commemorate the dead, although the festival itself is one of merry making.
Traditionally, young men have cross-dressed as part of the festival, which has also been a traditional time for political protest, and the Nepalese LGBT community have adopted it as their annual gay pride festival.