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KATHMANDU - Nepal is going to organize its first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) sports festival in Kathmandu on Oct 12.
According to the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal's leading human rights organization for sexual and gender minorities, the festival will be a two-day event where thousands of individuals from LGBTI community are expected to participate in South Asia's "first" LGBTI sports festival. With the announcement of the sports festival, Nepal has sent a message that the country is turning into a gay-friendly home.
"The country's largest human rights organization that works to empower the marginalized LGBT community has taken the initiative to bring a version of these unique games to Nepal,"the BDS said in its website.
The upcoming festival has already confirmed participation from over 200 Nepali amateur athletes from the LGBTI community and more than 150 foreign athletes from over 17 countries.
The festival comprises more than 10 group events and numerous individual events such as karate, running, marathon, football, swimming and volleyball. "We have already booked Dasrath Rangshala, the national stadium, for the event. This will be South Asia's and probably Asia's first such games for the LGBT community," organizer of the event, Sunil Babu Pant was quoted as saying in the website.
Following the abolition of monarchy, the Nepalese government had legalized homosexuality in 2007. Moreover, based on the country's Supreme Court ruling, the government is mulling on legalizing same-sex marriage as well.
Earlier, in 2007, the apex court had ruled that the new democratic government must protect LGBT rights and change existing laws that are discriminatory. Prior to this ruling, a homosexual relation in Nepal was a crime with maximum punishment of two years in prison.
However, Nepal is gradually becoming a gay-friendly nation in the world. Last June, an American lesbian couple formally married in Nepal according to Hindu culture, at a Kathmandu-based temple. The two lovers became the first LGBT icon to tie the knot in Nepal. Likewise, various Nepali cities have been organizing gay parades, LGBT beauty pageants and festivals.