Nepal's LGBT community under attack

Published: January 17, 2013

Nepal’s LGBT movement is reportedly under attack. Earlier this month, Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal’s mostly widely known gay man and first out member of Parliament, suddenly alerted the international LGBT community about months of harassment of LGBT leaders and community members by government officials.

The Blue Diamond Society, the LGBT rights organization founded and led by Pant in 2001, hasn’t been able to get its license renewed to allow the organization to operate legally, wrote Pant, in an email interview with the Bay Area Reporter.

Late last week Pant appealed to funders to submit letters of support to members of Nepal’s government to defend his and the society’s reputation and put pressure on the government to renew the organization’s license.

Funders responded with an outpouring of support.

Since September, authorities and members of the media have made inquiries into Pant, a former member of Parliament before it dissolved last May, and the society.

According to media reports, MPs couldn’t come to an agreement on the country’s draft constitution. An election for a new legislative body to draft a new constitution was supposed to happen in November, but the election has come and gone with no resolve and a government in disarray.

Last month, harassment of Nepal’s LGBT community turned into an alleged abduction of one member of the Blue Diamond Society and attempts to abduct two other members, according to Pant. He was also followed by unknown men, Pant wrote in an email on Gays Without Borders January 1.

In the email, Pant documented incidents of authorities and members of the media, in particular Sagarmatha Television, attempting to bribe and harass LGBT individuals working for the society or who are members of the organization.

Last August, "Khoj Khabar," considered an investigative journalism show on Sagarmatha Television, aired an interview of seven former Blue Diamond staff members who filed a lawsuit charging Pant and the organization with corruption and other charges, according to Pant and media reports.

Since then journalists working for the media outlet reportedly have been asking Blue Diamond staff members and sex workers about the organization’s funders, finances, the quality of Pant’s leadership, and their compensation.

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