Like may parts of the world, transgender Nepalis have grown up risking exclusion from society and their own families –but last month’s earthquake brought fresh problems; finding a safe place to get shelter.
The director of the Blue Diamond Society, Manisha Dhakal’s mission is to improve the sexual health, human rights and well-being of sexual and gender minorities in Nepal. Nepal’s government made headlines when it announced in January that its citizens could identify as a third gender on their passports, but in the temporary camps set up across Kathmandu for earthquake survivors, facilities are segregated into male and female – excluding third gender people. They struggle to access even the basic like toilets. In the aftermath of the earthquake, many third gender and LGBT people slept under a Blue Diamond Society banner for security and identification.
Tara Bhattarai is the head of the Nepal Red Cross Society’s gender and inclusion department;
“It’s our duty to support this vulnerable group. Many transgender people don’t get help from their families and are left to fend for themselves, even in times like this.”
Working closely with the Blue Diamond Society, the Red Cross is raising awareness of minority groups among its staff and volunteers across the country. Society founder Sunil Babu Pant thanked its partners and local police and medical teams for coming to the aid of LGBT people after the disaster;
“What Nepal is going through is beyond imagination. But we, the LGBT people of Nepal, pledge with all Nepalese, that we will rebuild our lives, our families, our societies and our nation.”
Millions of people still urgently need basics such as shelter, food and medicine. Jessica Letch is a gender and protection advisor for the Red Cross emergency earthquake operation in Nepal. She was on the ground within days of the disaster and is determined that help will reach the most vulnerable – including women, children, people with disabilities and LGBT people;
“The Red Cross wants to respond to the diverse needs that exist within society, and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. It takes a little bit of a change in thinking, and the Red Cross wants to be part of that change.”
To donate to relief efforts in Nepal, you can go here.
(via Pink News)