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Happy to be gay


ULASH RANA


As a gay man growing up in Nepal, I went through tumultuous phases of self-denial and self-acceptance. A big part of it had to do with the shame factor of being 'unnatural'.

Now I know that I'm not 'unnatural' yet the law doesn't recognise me as 'natural' either. In June, a private lawyer filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that the government enforce existing laws on 'unnatural' sex.

Nepal's Criminal Code penalises 'unnatural sex' with up to one year's imprisonment or a fine of Rs 5,000 according to Clause 4 of the chapter on 'Bestialit&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;'. 'Unnatural sex', however, is defined in terms of human sexual intercourse with an animal only and does not specify any other form of sexual intercourse or homosexual acts.

On the other hand, there is no law against sexual harassment and inhuman brutal treatment of MSMs (men having sex with men) and Metis (effeminate male cross-dressers) in Nepal. Justice hasn't been served to the perpetrators who happen to be law enforcers. Who are we to point fingers at? The reinforced state of impunity gained by the armed forces in this environment of Maoist insurgency or the same law whose eyes are blind to such unjustifiable and unjustified degrading acts?

The petitioner has pleaded that homosexual activities be banned and punished as per his interpretation of 'unnatural'. He also wanted the Blue Diamond Society that is working for gay rights and sexual health closed down. Blue Diamond Society has been involved in rescuing Nepal's MSMs and sexual/gender minorities and been active in treatment and awareness of sexually-transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.

I'm a gay man. My very core being that defines me, my homosexuality, is under attack. By stating that BDS is inspiring homosexuality, the petition has struck at the institute I revere most. Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill within the narrow confines of what one misguided petitioner deeply mired in the stereotype perceives. Let's not see each other as mere labels or objects, let's demolish judgmental attitudes based on ignorance and start seeing and regarding each other as fellow human beings.

What are we to make of some lawyers claiming that gay rights are not human rights? Are we not human beings? When the same people claim that the main features of human rights are universality, indivisibility and naturalness, I guess their stress has been on 'naturalness' of homosexuality. This is conformity to social conditioning.

The Supreme Court hearing has been scheduled for 18 January 2005. The response from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Supreme Court asked that the writ be quashed because the government would need a law to take action and there is no law against homosexuals, not even Bestiality Law No 4. But the outcome on 18 January can take three possible courses:

1 Homosexuality can be deemed illegal and hence open homosexual activities banned
2 Homosexuality can be ruled legal in which case the government should define it and bring positive laws
3 Leave the status quo under which homosexuality is neither legal nor illegal.

The third option is better than the first but we will not be satisfied unless the second option is implemented: the recognition that homosexuality exists and its legalisation. The Ministry of Home Affairs is sticking by the status quo in defense of the existing 'non-existent' law.

But what is the real status of homosexuals in Nepal? Is it the existing 'non-existent' homosexual law or the fact that we are unquestionably accepting this very law? By accepting the status quo will we be actually accepting, conforming and unwittingly preserving the existing social mores?

Ulhas Rana is a Nepali gay writer.

[email protected]
www.groups.yahoo.com/group/LGBTNepal/


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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