Nepal: Religious leaders remain silent over legalisation of LGBT rights

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A gay lawmaker in Nepal has said that not a single religious group has made a complaint following a decision by the government to grant equal rights to LGBT citizens.

In May, The Home Ministry of Nepal agreed to grant citizenship to those identifying themselves as LGBT.

In an interview with Asia Times Online, openly gay lawmaker, Sunil Babu Pant, drew comparisons with other countries, where religious opposition to equal rights for LGBT people has been massive.

He said that in other countries, religious groups were: “Into everything except religion itself, but in Nepal, religious institutions have remained pretty pure, and are more focused on the religious aspect.”

The situation in Nepal was a stark contrast with the equivalent in Delhi three years ago, where, upon the legalisation of LGBT rights, Hindus and Muslims, typically opposed to one another, joined forces to attack the decision by their government.

He said the LGBT community has been “mainstreamed” and that social acceptance is on the increase. One problem still, he said was that trans people still found it difficult to get jobs, but that the situation was rapidly improving.

According to Pant, the move towards equal rights for LGBT people started in late 2007, with a governmental decision to provide equal rights for all. He said that religious groups promptly accepted the decision along side their political, or human-rights counterparts.

Earlier in August, The Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s leading LGBT rights organisation, issued a statement condemning “a biased and malicious” news report about their activities, including accusations of fraud and corruption, which was screened on a national television station this week.

Earlier in the year, Nepal announced that they would be hosting a national LGBT games later this year, a first for Asia.