1. Blue Diamond Society Director Sunil Babu Pant
Image by Kyle Knight
The Blue Diamond Society announced Wednesday that 62 LGBT Candidates would run for seats in the country’s Constituent Assembly in elections scheduled for November 19.
“As the political parties failed to provide us proper space in the past, we faced hard time to secure our identity,” one of the candidates, Bhumika Shrestha, said. “I have planned to fight the election from the Nepali Congress and hope that other parties will also include the LGBTs in the election, keeping in mind our population.”
Blue Diamond is headed by Sunil Babu Pant, who is a former member of the Assembly. He said he had not yet decided if he would run again in the upcoming election.
Nepal became a beacon of LGBT rights in the region following a 2007 court ruling establishing broad rights for “third gender” people. But implementation of that decision has stalled thanks to paralysis of the country’s government, which has deadlocked over the creation of a new constitution. Nepal has been without a legislature since May 2012, when the Constituent Assembly was disolved by then Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.
The political chaos has lead to a rapid deterioration of the situation for LGBT people in recent months. A spike in arrests and hate crimes were compounded by a several-month paralysis of the Blue Diamond Society thanks to charges of corruption from local officials.