Sunil Babu Pant Deactivates Facebook Account in Protest

On March 22nd, I wrote an open letter to one of the most powerful businessmen the world has ever known, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of facebook, the world’s most popular website. My request was simple: allow people who do not identify as male or female equal opportunity to express themselves by adding an “other” option under sex on facebook profiles.

I have received no reply, which is really disappointing. Many journalists have written to facebook as well, and looking at the blog below, reading Facebook’s irresponsible remarks saying “People can already opt out of showing their sex on their profile,” shows Facebook is not respecting human diversity and still forcing third genders and gender variant people to be invisible. This is outrageous and unacceptable. And like to say to the Facebook that “Yes we also have a choice to opt out from the Facebook altogether”.

Until Facebook changes its position I am deactivating my Facebook account for now and if the genuine demand is not considered I will leave Facebook for good.

Thank you everyone for your support and solidarity.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/nepal-asks-facebook-for-third-sex-option/11117

Update at 6:00 PM PST: “People can already opt out of showing their sex on their profile,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re constantly innovating on our products and features and we welcome input from everyone as we explore ways to improve the Facebook experience.”

By bluediamondsociety

Nepal’s first gender-inclusive toilet unveiled today in Nepalgunj

Sunil Babu Pant stands in front of the new gender-inclusive public toilet in Nepalgunj.

This afternoon, Asia’s only openly-gay federal-level politician and director of Nepal’s first LGBTI rights organization Blue Diamond Society, Sunil Babu Pant, unveiled the country’s first gender-inclusive public toilet. The facility was constructed using Pant’s Parliamentary Development Fund, an allotment given to each Member of Parliament annually for development projects around the country.

Labeled for “third genders” and “others,” the facility sits in a small compound next to male and female public toilets in Bhageshwori Park in Nepalgunj.

The unveiling ceremony took place today at 1PM. Dozens of transgender, third gender, and other Blue Diamond Society members attended and applauded what they see as a signal of progress for their city and their human rights movement.

The municipality of Nepalgunj granted the land for the facility. At the inauguration program, the chief of the District Public Health Office, the undersecretary from the Ministry of Health and Population in Kathmandu, and representatives from UNDP and Save the Children attended and spoke with media.

Sudip Bhatta, regional coordinator for Blue Diamond Society in Nepalgunj, “some cities even have special places for pets to go to the bathroom. This project shows that all people deserve to be treated better than animals, and on equal footing with fellow humans.”
Blue Diamond Society has received hundreds of reports in recent years from third gender and gender-variant members who have been harassed or faced violence when they try to use public toilets marked “male” and “female.”

“This facility is meant to allow equal access,” explained Pant. “I’m proud that Parliamentary Development funds could support such a progressive initiative, and show the world that we are a country that celebrates diversity and wants to offer equal protection to all citizens.”

Pant hopes that this facility offers greater accessibility to all people, including other populations who are marginalized and cannot easily access public facilities, such as people with disabilities.

“Revolution doesn’t have to be violent like Nepal has seen for so long,” says Pant. “This kind of project is a revolution to respect gender-variant people in the most fundamental way – allowing them safe access to public facilities for their basic needs. I’m not sure whether the United Nations will recognize this move or not, but this is a challenge to them to recognize the unrecognized LGBTI population around the world – they could start with the toilets in their own offices.”

Nepal has had a legally-recognized third gender since 2007. The Supreme Court decision in Pant v. Nepal determined that gender identity, in accordance with the Yogyakarta Principles, should be based on self-identification. Over the last five years, Blue Diamond Society has been advocating for the rights of all LGBTI people. The organization has been working with the government to implement the third gender category, including on citizenship ID cards.

For more information, please visit: http://www.bds.org.np

By bluediamondsociety

Blue Diamond Society launches Nationwide television program

Weekly TV Show “Pahichan” only on Nepal Television

Every Saturday at 9:30 pm and repeat telecast every Tuesday at 3pm.

Sunil Babu Pant is hosting a new TV show every week(Saturday) at 9:30pm on Nepal’s national television, “Nepal Television”. The repeat telecast of this program can be viewed every Tuesday at 3pm.

Pahichaan, which in Nepali means “identity,” features Nepali celebrities who join Pant each week to discuss their lives and careers, and the importance of supporting human rights for the LGBTI community.

By bluediamondsociety

Open letter to Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook

Image

Dear Chris Hughes,

Co- Founder, Facebook
I wrote an open letter to Mr. Zuckerberg last week and reaching you out for the same reason, asking to make Facebook USER friendly also for those who do not identify as male or female.
My name is Sunil Babu Pant. Like yourself, I am openly gay. I am a member of Parliament and Constituent Assembly of Nepal. We are at the final stage on writing new constitution of Nepal which, I believe and we are working on to complete one soon, will be one of the most progressive and inclusive one for ALL when completed.
I am also the founder and director of Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s first LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) rights organization.
In just eleven years, Blue Diamond Society has achieved incredible success advocating for the rights of LGBTI people. This is due, in part, to the fact that Nepal is a country that celebrates diversity, and, in part, to the bravery and tenacity of Blue Diamond Society staff and volunteers.
In 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal responded positively to a case Blue Diamond Society brought before it. We asked the Court to find that LGBTI people are equal, and that gender identity should be based only on self-identification. They decided positively on both counts – and now we are working to implement the policies.
I write today as an avid user and admirer of Facebook. Your product has revolutionized the way we communicate and express ourselves around the world. It has brought communities together which were otherwise thousands of miles apart, and resulted in collaboration and partnerships which have improved the world.
However people who do not identify as male or female continue to be sidelined by Facebook’s options. As you allow users to identify only as male or female, many in the LGBTI community feel as if they are hidden on the site, unable to identify as their true selves.
In Nepal, we have been working with the government to improve this identity-based access to documentation and civic participation. The Government of Nepal is working to implement a third gender option, labeled “other,” on all official forms and registers.
I encourage you to do the same, for the sake of respect for gender-variant people around the world who want to socialize, organize, and be a part of your 21st century internet revolution. I encourage Facebook to celebrate diversity.
Please let me know if I can help in the process and look forward to hear from you/Facebook soon.
Kind regards,

Sunil

Sunil B Pant
Member of Constituent Assembly and Parliament
Kathmandu Nepal
Ph:            +977 1 4443350      
Cell:             +977 9851067959      
Fax:+977 1 4438600
GPO Box: 8975, EPC No: 5119
Kathmandu, Nepal

By bluediamondsociety

First gender-neutral public toilet launched in Nepal – नेपाल मै पहिलो सौचालय: तेस्रो लिङ्गि र अन्यका लागि

Sunil B. Pant

First gender-neutral public toilet launched in Nepal:

Nepal’s openly-gay former MP, Sunil Babu Pant, has used his Parliamentary Development Fund money to build the country’s first gender-neutral all-access public toiled in the bustling Western city of Nepalgunj. Local transgender, third gender, and gender-variant (other) citizens are thrilled that they can now access safe, sanitary toilet facilities; local officials are encourage that violence and discrimination against the LGBTI population in the area will decrease with this safe, encouraging, and symbolic public space open. The toilet was constructed with the support from Parliamentary Development Fund, which is given to each MP each year. (The public toilet will be unveiled on March 27 at 1PM in Bageshoweri Park, Nepalgunj)


नेपाल मै पहिलो सौचालय: तेस्रो लिङ्गि र अन्यका लागि:

सभासद सुनिल बाबु पन्तको संसद बिकास कोषको रकम मद्धे केहि रकमवाट नेपालमै पहिलो सौचालय: तेस्रो लिङ्गि वा “महिला वा पुरुष” भन्दा अन्य पहिचान भएका समूदायका लागि नेपालगञ्ज सहरको केन्द्र, बागेश्वरी पार्क, वउा नं. ३ मा, नगर पालिकाको अनुमति-सहयोगमा निर्माण कार्य पुरा भइसकेको छ। यस समलिङ्गि, तेस्रो लिङ्गि वा “अन्य” समूदायका लागि निर्मित सौचालयको विधिबत उदघाटन मा. सुनिल बाबु पन्त द्वारा यहि मंगलबार, १४ गते चैत्र २०६८ का दिन दिनको १ बजे हुने तय भएको छ, सथान: नेपालगञ्ज, बागेश्वरी पार्क, वउा नं. ३

मा. सुनिल बाबु पन्तले, सिप मूलक तालिम (बेकरि, दालमोट, मोटरसाइकल मर्मत: नेपालगञ्ज तथा काठमाण्डौ), सुधारिएको चुलो (गोरखा), सौचालय (परिवारका लागि, गोरखा), वाटर हारभेष्ट (गोरखा), सडक निर्माण (गोरखा), लगायतका परियोजनामा समेत संसद बिकास कोषको रकम सदुपयोग गरेका छन्।

By bluediamondsociety

Blue Diamond Society Director Encourages Facebook to Celebrate Diversity

Sunil B. Pant

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook, Inc.

1 Hacker Way

Menlo Park, CA 94025

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

My name is Sunil Babu Pant. I am the founder and director of Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s first LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) rights organization.

In just eleven years, Blue Diamond Society has achieved incredible success advocating for the rights of LGBTI people. This is due, in part, to the fact that Nepal is a country that celebrates diversity, and, in part, to the bravery and tenacity of Blue Diamond Society staff and volunteers.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal responded positively to a case Blue Diamond Society brought before it. We asked the Court to find that LGBTI people are equal, and that gender identity should be based only on self-identification. They decided positively on both counts – and now we are working to implement the policies.

I write today as an avid user and admirer of Facebook. Your product has revolutionized the way we communicate and express ourselves around the world. It has brought communities together which were otherwise thousands of miles apart, and resulted in collaboration and partnerships which have improved the world.

However people who do not identify as male or female continue to be sidelined by Facebook’s options. As you allow users to identify only as male or female, many in the LGBTI community feel as if they are hidden on the site, unable to identify as their true selves.

In Nepal, we have been working with the government to improve this identity-based access to documentation and civic participation. The Government of Nepal is working to implement a third gender option, labeled “other,” on all official forms and registers.

I encourage you to do the same, for the sake of respect for gender-variant people around the world who want to socialize, organize, and be a part of your 21st century internet revolution. I encourage Facebook to celebrate diversity.

Please let me know if I can help in the process.

Kind regards,

Sunil B. Pant

Executive Director

Blue Diamond Society

http://www.bds.org.np

Makwanpur BDS Dance Program Successful, Dozens of LGBTIs Come Out Publicly – मकवानपुरको नील हिरा समाज कार्यक्रम सफल भयो

Local media coverage boasts about a wildly successful Blue Diamond Society dance program featuring brave local members of the LGBTI community who came on stage at the end – their first time coming out publicly.

By bluediamondsociety

Blue Diamond Society Kicks Off National LGBT Sports Program

At the organization’s central office in Kathmandu today, Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s leading LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, third gender, and intersex) rights organization kicked off “Blue Diamond National Sport Competition – 2012.”

At the organization’s central office in Kathmandu today, Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s leading LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, third gender, and intersex) rights organization kicked off “Blue Diamond National Sport Competition – 2012.”

(For an audio recording of today’s press conference, please click here)

The ceremony featured a symbolic handover from the Australian Sport Outreach Program (ASOP). Blue Diamond Society will implement the program featuring volleyball, football, running races, long jump, martial arts, tennis and more. Renowned and respected Nepali athletes will support as coaches and referees for the program, expressing their solidarity with the LGBTI community in Nepal.

This event and the launch of the program represents a significant moment for Blue Diamond Society and the LGBTI rights movement in Nepal. As noted by regional activists and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in her human rights day speech last year, Nepal is a regional and international leader on LGBTI rights. An important aspect of Blue Diamond Society’s work over the past eleven years has been partnering with local and international NGOs, INGOs, and programs in Nepal.

Engaging with the Australian mission and local sports leaders demonstrates how LGBTI rights and participation issues are mainstream issues in Nepal and around the world. The partnership between Nepal and Australia is strong. Earlier this year, Australia made headlines by adding a third category for gender on passports for individuals who are transgender or do not identify as male or female. Australian citizens can now travel with “X” on their passports instead of “M” or “F” if they wish.

Since a landmark 2007 Supreme Court decision, Nepal has had a similar law on the books – however implementation has not yet taken place. A case is currently pending in the Supreme Court in which the petitioner is a third gender citizen with a third gender citizenship ID card, however the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied him a third gender passport, claiming it is difficult. The case of Australia provides compelling evidence that Nepal’s laws are progressive and leading the way for third gender rights.

The aims for organizing this “Blue Diamond National Sport Competition – 2012” are to mainstream LGBTI into the larger society, promote healthy life styles, encourage physical fitness, and promote health mentally and spiritually so that one can serve humanity better. But also to prove ourselves that: “Yes We Can!”.

By bluediamondsociety