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!”.