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Blue Diamond Society

Blue Diamond Society was established in 2001 for the human rights, equity, social justice and dignity of LGBTIQ+ people. HIV work was the entry point of its movement.

  • Published
  • 19 April 2024
Hundreds of people holding an LGBTQI flag at Gaijatra Nepal Pride GATE logo
© Gaijatra Nepal Pride | Blue Diamond Society

Being trans in Nepal

In the heart of Nepal, trans and gender diverse communities have been part of society since time immemorial, their presence deeply interwoven into its cultural and social fabric. However, legal gender recognition dates back to the 2000s, with the Nepalese Supreme Court being one of the first in the world (2007) to order a government to legally recognize gender based on self-determination. Despite this progressive judgment, trans and gender diverse communities continue to face social stigma and are denied access to comprehensive legal gender recognition based on self-determination.

In Nepal, the majority of trans people are engaged in sex work, exposing them to heightened levels of violence. Mental health issues also pose significant challenges, with an alarming 8.3% HIV prevalence rate among trans sex workers, surpassing rates among other key populations. Furthermore, the lack of employment opportunities compounds the struggles faced by the trans and gender diverse community. Recent research conducted by Blue Diamond Society and UN Women highlighted that a staggering 81% of our community have experienced at least one form of violence in their lifetime. Social rejection and stigma within the healthcare sector further exacerbate the challenges confronting transgender individuals.

In spite of these challenges, Blue Diamond Society emerges as a source of progress for our communities, offering hope for positive transformation.

Who are Blue Diamond Society?

Established in 2001, Blue Diamond Society emerged as a grassroots movement advocating for the human rights, equity, and social justice of LGBTIQ+ individuals. What began with a handful of volunteers addressing HIV-related issues soon evolved into a multifaceted approach encompassing broader human rights advocacy.

Blue Diamond Society’s journey is marked by milestones of courage and determination:

  • In 2004, they pioneered the Gaijatra Pride Festival, a groundbreaking celebration of diversity and inclusion. 
  • Three years later, in 2007, they boldly petitioned the Supreme Court, demanding equal rights for LGBTIQ+ people, setting a precedent for legal reform in Nepal.

Today, Blue Diamond Society stands as a pillar of support and empowerment, extending its reach across seven provinces of Nepal. Their work transcends mere activism; it encompasses a holistic approach to human rights advocacy, sensitization, service delivery, and capacity building.

What are Blue Diamond Society doing for trans communities?

At the forefront of their efforts lies a commitment to HIV prevention, treatment, and care, providing essential services to vulnerable communities. Blue Diamond Society collaborates closely with government bodies, policymakers, and civil society organizations, advocating for systemic change and policy reforms.

However, Blue Diamond Society’s impact extends far beyond policy corridors. They provide vital support systems for mental health issues, shelter homes for gender-based violence survivors, and facilitate access to citizenship documents, ensuring the most marginalized are not left behind.

Moreover, Blue Diamond Society invests in the future through initiatives like the Rainbow Youth Leadership program, nurturing the next generation of LGBTIQ+ leaders. They also prioritize the protection of LGBTIQ+ children and their families through dedicated programs, fostering safe and inclusive environments for all.

As Nepal strides towards progress, Blue Diamond Society stands as a testament to the power of community resilience and collective action. Their journey embodies the spirit of change, transforming barriers into bridges and dreams into realities. 

Together, let’s continue to amplify their voices and champion the rights of all individuals, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

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Nepal is considered as progressive country regarding the rights of sexual & gender minorities. Article 12; “Right to citizen” of constitution explicitly mention about access of citizenship as per gender identity. But in reality, transgender people need to show medical proof to access citizenship. This is against self-determination and human rights principles. We urge government of Nepal to respect the constitution and set the provision to access citizenship as per once gender identity with self-determination.

Manisha Dhakal, Executive Director of BDS