Landmark Report Highlights Persistent Challenges Faced by LGBT Community in Nepal

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kathmandu (24 November 2014) – While Nepal is often cited as a progressive country in terms of equal rights for sexual and gender minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the country continue to face a wide range of obstacles as individuals and as a community, according to a new comprehensive report released today.

The ‘Being LGBT in Asia’ country report produced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports widespread bullying in schools and a lack of protection from discrimination by employers. Other challenges include limited programming to address reproductive health needs of lesbians and the lack of sensitive HIV healthcare for transgender women and gay men who are at higher risk of HIV infection than the general population.

All people deserve to be treated with dignity no matter who they are or who they love. And so it’s especially pleasing to be in a country where citizens have led an important movement to bring about historic, meaningful, lasting change,” said USAID Deputy Mission Director Beth Dunford.

The report also notes that despite a Supreme Court verdict in 2007 to protect the rights of these minorities, an anti-discrimination law to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people has not been enacted nor has same-sex marriage been legalized as ordered by court. 

As part of the ‘Being LBGT in Asia’ initiative, the Nepal Country Report is important; not only will it help in creating a common understanding, but also in setting the priorities for the future,” said Nepal United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Jamie McGoldrick.

‘Being LGBT in Asia: Nepal Country Report’ calls on the Government of Nepal and Nepali society to accept the existence of LGBT individuals as an integral and contributing part of society. It calls on all stakeholders to respect and protect the rights of LGBT people through existing national and international human rights mechanisms and through additional laws and policies as needed.

Guaranteed LGBTI rights are fundamental for us because it is a matter of being able to live a dignified life free of fear. It also is about the future of LGBT children and youth in coming generations. We are merely demanding equal rights and are not asking for special privileges,” said Manisha Dhakal, acting Executive Director of Blue Diamond Society, a prominent civil society organization that has been promoting LGBT human rights and access to HIV healthcare since 2001.

This report, part of the broader regional ‘Being LGBT in Asia’ initiative, aims to provide an overview of the legal and social environment for LGBT people and organizations in Nepal. It provides a review of LGBT rights as related broadly to human rights conventions and laws, the legal environment, the socio-cultural environment and religion; and more specifically to education, employment, family affairs, health, media, political affairs and the capacity of LGBT organizations. The report is a joint collaboration between UNDP, USAID and leading LGBT civil society groups and is based on information gathered during the “’Being LGBT in Asia” Nepal National LGBTI Community Dialogue held in April 2014 in Kathmandu as well as other field work and reviews.

Download the English and Nepali reports here: