Sunil Babu Pant, the first openly gay politician in Nepal and in South Asia, has recently achieved another feat in his LGBT work by opening The Pink Himalayan Centre in Dhumabarahi, Kathmandu last week. It is a shelter home for the LGBT community from across the world and especially from Nepal and South Asia. According to Mr. Pant, there are numerous people who face daily humiliations just because of their different sexual orientation; and it is to them the home is dedicated to. This came as a tremendous achievement both for Mr. Pant and for the community as well. The first of its kind in South Asia naturally puts Sunil Pant and his country ahead of many others in the ongoing struggle for the LGBT community across the world. Neighbouring nations like India or Pakistan still have a long way to go on this note.
Sunil Pant has much more to his credit other than this stunning home. He is the founder and director of Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s first LGBT rights organisation. The organisation has done extremely well for the welfare of LGBT people; on issues like HIV/AIDS, rights for sexual minorities, political recognition, citizenship cards for LGBT, etc. His contribution has been varied and tremendous. He retired from the organisation last month and was replaced by Sudeep Bahadur. The famously talked about queer travel agency called Pink Mountain Travels and Excursions in Nepal is again under Sunil’s chairmanship. This graceful “gay man”, as he calls himself, has become one of the most important LGBT activist and spokesperson of his time.
As blogged by Blue Diamond Society, the new home has been in Mr. Pant’s mind for six years now. The right time came when the society got financial support from Nepal government and aid from other foreign bodies like the Norwegian government, Danish embassy, US embassy and the rest from community members both from outside and inside Nepal. It has been a successful collective venture. After the official inauguration on 11th Sep, the stunning five story building stands proud in Dhumabarahi. Blue Diamond Society will also now shift its office from Lazimpat to the brand new building.
The community centre has office space, a TV and radio studio, a cafeteria, a shelter, conference facilities, and space for vocational skill building classes. The motto of the centre is to promote empowerment, learning, sharing and freedom. This center also has ‘solar power back up’ system, ‘water harvest’ system.
The home will now witness several productive activities from art exhibitions to financially productive projects and workshops to teacher training. All these eventually will be for a larger collective effort to make the lives of LGBT better in the country and across.
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