Hundreds of LGBT people paraded through Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to fight for their rights. The country is currently in a final push to complete a constitution, and the LGBT community wants to be part of the process.
It was likely one of the most colorful protests in the country’s history. Pictures from the parade are already circulating around the Internet.
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But their demands were serious according to the New York Times, as Pinky Gurung from the gay rights group Blue Diamond Society explained.
“Our main demand is that the rights of the sexual minorities should be guaranteed in the new constitution.”
Those rights include having marriages between LGBT people recognized by the government, and the right for couples to adopt children.
It’s not clear what effect the 500-person parade had on the lawmakers, but the country has been making rapid progress on LGBT rights.
Homosexuality was legalized in 2007, according to the BBC, and the Supreme Court nullified all laws that discriminated based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
A few years later, the government allowed a “third gender” option on passports for people who didn’t want to be identified as “male” or “female.”
Still, LGBT rights advocates insist the country has a long way to go. For example, many insist that only a few third gender passports have been issued and they’re difficult to get.
Enshrining LGBT rights in the constitution would defend them from future challenges, and the pressure is now on for any last-minute changes to the document.
According to Al Jazeera, both the people and international donors are pressuring lawmakers to finish so they can move onto reconstruction efforts after the earthquake and figuring out the best way to spend aid money.
In addition, the earthquake has created an atmosphere of unity in Nepal, which also opens a possibility for completing the constitution quickly.
Nevertheless, there are substantial issues that need to be resolved from previous drafts of the document, according to Nepali journalist Prashant Jha.
“They have gone back on the idea of federalism, they have instituted a discriminatory citizenship provision for women, they have quashed inclusive provisions agreed earlier in the Constituent Assembly, and they are on the verge of dropping the word secularism.”
Some are now even fighting for Nepal to be identified as a Hindu country, rather than a secular state. The LGBT cause might be at risk of being lost to other demands on Nepali lawmakers.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]