Tales of acceptanceMitini Nepal’s event titled ‘Together Always: United in Diversity’ highlights lived experiences of lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
Mitini Nepal, an organisation working for the rights of Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (LBT) individuals, conducted a programme to celebrate ‘International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia (IDAHOTB)’ at Alice Receptions, Gairidhara, Kathmandu on Wednesday.
The programme was inaugurated by Surendra Raj Acharya, the minister for women, children and senior citizens. Several representatives from UN agencies, embassies, and similar commissions were also present.
Titled ‘Together Always: United in Diversity’, the programme aimed to bring forward stories and lived experiences of LBT individuals living in Nepali society. While some were tales of acceptance, other anecdotes hinted towards the pervasive prejudices harboured by communities against the LGBTIQA+ both in urban and rural settings.
May 17 marks the day when the World Health Organisation (WHO) made the historic decision to remove homosexuality from the international classification of diseases in 1990. Since then, this day has served as a platform to organise events and rallies to raise awareness of rights violations and discrimination faced by LBGTIQA+ communities globally.
The programme started with a commemorating speech by Laxmi Ghalan, the president of Mitini Nepal. Ghalan talked about the initiatives taken by the organisation since its establishment in 2005 and how far it has come. Started as a support group in 2002, Mitini Nepal—then known as ‘Mitini Support Group’—primarily focused on the lesbian community across the class and caste spectrum in order to create a platform where lesbian women could freely express their worries and challenges. Their programmes focused on making members aware of issues of human rights, sexuality, political participation, health and other gender-related issues and concerns.
Eventually, as their members and reach grew, they expanded their programmes to include bisexual and transgender individuals. They also provide legal advice and help for those seeking to fight for their identity and dignity within the judicial system.
In this particular event, the speakers focused on how the looming economic crisis may disproportionately affect LGBTIQA+ individuals. Societal prejudices and pressures often make it difficult for individuals to find proper economic footing—via employment or education. “We dream of a world where everyone can realise their potential and live a dignified life,” said Ghalan.
The programme also launched a collection of anecdotes of LGBTIQA+ couples living together, who have been embraced by their family and community members. Moreover, Mitini Nepal also released a factsheet titled ‘Age Discrimination Impacts on Older LGBTI persons in Nepal’. The factsheet was based on a survey done on 100 individuals aged 50 to 75 and living in all provinces except Karnali.