Nepal’s LGBT Community

Nepal’s LGBT community is at this time still, sadly a largely ‘underground’ one due to prevailing mainstream convential social conservatism, that is heterosexist and influenced by related male supremicist values and behaviour (for example Nepali — and English! — code words are used by many members of the community when they meet in social venues, for as yet there is no developed ‘gay scene,’ although even this is changing, and PMTT is Proud to be playing its part in, for example the ‘Happy Home’ LGBT social and LGBT cultural venue initiative).

However the nation’s LGBT community is a close and vibrant one (and constitutes a ‘family’ in a way increasingly not found in Western lands where the ‘scene’ is dominated less by pan-LGBT community consolidarity and friendship values, than by commercial bars, pubs and clubs ones), and is foremost in South Asia for leading the way to change and equality and respect for LGBT citizens and their human rights.

It is orientated towards almost all social interaction being made possible through involvement to lesser or greater extents with the Blue Diamond Society and its direct and closest partner the Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities Nepal [FSGMN].  The community is also unique in being very welcoming to fellow LGBT brothers and sisters from the international community, and also provides a unique example of the very diverse racial and ethnic communities of Nepal meeting and sharing their perspectives as members of a common LGBT ‘family’ in the context of Kathmandu (and to a certain extent, Pokhara).

Nepal’s Gay/LGBT ‘Scene’ differs from mainstream gay scenes in Western countries, and yet of course has some characteristics in common with these. The Western ‘Gay Scene,’ which is essentially a drinking and clubbing and dancing one favoured – and mainly targeted at – the 18 – 25 age group, is of course not always preferred by many members (couples and singles) of LGBT communities in the West. International and Western LGBT visitors to Nepal, seeking experience of connecting with their brothers and sisters in our LGBT world/community, commonly find our community to have characteristics they feel are often lacking in Western gay scenes.

There is for example in Nepal an established tradition of male-male and female-female dancing, and this exists in international style nightclubs, especially in the tourist and nightlife centre quarter (Thamel) of Kathmandu. Thamel is one of the most lively and cosmopolitan nightlife quarters of Asia’s capital cities: bustling with life, and the faces of peoples of all of Nepal’s very diverse ethnic communities and those of non-Nepali international and Western visitors, long-term residents, trekkers, it has an atmosphere of vibrancy that is unique for any international visitor to experience. It is home to very popular bars and cafes, some of which are partly run by Western and international patrons and patronesses, a vast range of ethnic and local cuisine restaurants and bistro’s and nightclubs that welcome and are characterised by a great mix of local Nepali and international clientele. To a lesser extent the same characteristics of nightlife exist in Pokhara (commonly rated as Nepal’s most beautiful city), and there are not a few other major tourist destination cities that witness to a similar dynamic blend of socialising interaction between the local community and international visitors and tourists.

About the LGBT community socialising scene in Nepal:

As with Thamel, a great deal of socialising of lesbian, gay and trans communities members takes place in bars, cafes, nightclubs that are not LGBT (compared to such venues on gay and LGBT scenes in Western cities), but ‘relaxed’ and welcoming to LGBT people.
However, most LGBT community socialising takes place in homes of community members, especially those involved directly or indirectly in the broader LGBT human rights movement (led by the Blue Diamond Society, and also the FSGMN ‘Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities Nepal’).

This private domestic settings scene is extremely vibrant and is at least – in the context of Nepal – as important as the Western ‘Gay bars and nightclubs’ scene.

It is also one that doesn’t involve excessively loud music, and is characterised by many who have a very good knowledge of spoken English, and who are genuine in the warmth and sincerity of their greeting to and wish meet international members of the global LGBT community, and to share cultures, as well as of course the topics of conversation and interest that unite every single member of LGBT communities in every land and nation. In this the social scene of LGBT Nepal has characteristics and strengths that many Western LGBT scenes lack, and which not a few Western/International [including from neighbouring east and south Asian lands and the broader non-Western world] LGBT visitors to Nepal find especially welcome and inspiring.