In a first event of its kind in South Asia, and probably Asia, Nepal is set to organise the country’s first national games for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and third-gendered citizens.
The games to be held in September this year over a two-week period will witness LGBT sportspersons competing in sports ranging from volleyball, football, athletics, martial arts, tennis and more.
“There will be five teams from each region of the country. And we expect over 200 people to take part,” said Sunil Babu Pant of Blue Diamond Society, organiser of the event.
Pant who is Nepal’s first openly gay lawmaker founded BDS 11 years ago to protect the rights of LGBTs in a country where sexual minorities are often discriminated against.
“We have already booked Dasrath Rangshala, the national stadium, for the event. This will be South Asia’s and probably Asia’s first such games for the LGBT community,” said Pant.
Expressing solidarity with those participating, renowned Nepali athletes from different sports disciplines will take part in the event as coaches and referees, he informed.
“The aims for organising this event are to mainstream LGBTs into the larger society, promote healthy lifestyles and promote health mentally and spiritually,” said BDS in a statement.
Although it has not been independently verified, Nepal is estimated to have a population of 3,50,000-plus LGBTs.
Besides working for the sexual minorities, BDS is also involved in promoting Nepal as a gay-friendly tourist destination and organising beauty contests for members of the community.
In 2007, based on Pant’s petition, the Nepal Supreme Court in a landmark judgement ordered the government to frame equal laws for LGBTs. Nepal will soon become the first country in Asia to give equal rights to LGBTs, which means citizenship IDs for the transgenders and legal recognition for same-sex marriages.