News Alert: Nepal Elects Gay Leader

Despite my journalism friend saying this is cliché, I’m going to go ahead and quote Obama (does this make it obvious who I support?):

"I have always said that I don’t think that the LGBT community should take its cues from me or some political leader in terms of what they think is right for them. Real change comes from the bottom up, not the top down.”

Today we found out that Sunil Pant, founder of the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), has won a seat in the Nepali Parliament. He ran with a small fringe party, the Communist Party of Nepal-United (CPN-U) and has given life to Obama’s quote. Ok yes, the Nepali LGBT community may be taking “cues from …a political leader,” (Pant) but in this case, the leader clearly represents them and takes his cues from the LGBT community as well. Sunil started out as an ordinary citizen, founded BDS, used BDS to win legal battles for the LGBT community, and now has gone on to be the first openly gay politician in Nepal. Now other countries *cough* USA *cough* just need to follow Nepal’s lead in community activism.

Nepal has proven to be on the forefront of gay rights out of all the South Asian nations (I promise I won't make another open bosom/nipple/nepal joke) – in 2007, the Supreme Court issued orders to the government to treat people of the LGBTI community with the same rights accorded to heteros. Perhaps the overturning of a centuries old monarchy has something to do with this?

Official Nepali elections took place on April 10, but the process includes a secondary election that awards seats based on proportional representation. That combined with the fact that most constituencies did not use electronic polling, extended the process and tallying of results. Initial reports for the LGBT politicians looked grim, as it appeared that the Maoist party won most of the seats and the CPN-U gained none. The secondary process, however, awarded the CPN-U five seats in the Parliament, one of which they awarded to Pant. CPN-U has proven to be the go-to party for the LGBT community, since it included 12 sexual minorities running under its banner.

Pant has been a highly visible community activist - BDS is the only LGBT human rights group in Nepal. His victory has won accolades worldwide; Ashok Kavi of UNAID New Delhi says to Pant, “You've made our day and now will become the flag bearer of the LGBT communities in the Nepalese Parliament.”

More news on the elections: Thaindian News

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Nepali Elections
Sexual minorities, party of 12!
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libhom said...

That's great news. In a decade of so, Nepal may join the growing list of nations surpassing the US on lgbt issues.

Lakshman said...

While that might be true, and it is a small victory on the LGBT front in Nepal, the country itself is going to plummet politically. The Maoist party has taken a majority in the Nepali government, and undoubtedly (in my mind at least), it is through the pressure of the Chinese government. Nepal will soon become a puppet of the Chinese government thereby rendering whatever endeavors Pant would like to take useless.
Or maybe I'm just being cynical.