2019-02-20 03:51 KST  
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
Gay Unions Forged in Love, Not Law
In Nepal, homosexual couples hide their relationships, but with the current momentum, not for long
Mukunda Bogati (mukunda)     Print Article 
Published 2005-08-03 16:53 (KST)   
Laxmi Lama(left) and Meera Bajracharya in their bedroom.
©2005 Mukunda B.
Even now in parts of the West, gay people are still struggling for their rights in society. Though homosexuality is legal in many countries, gay and lesbian people still fight for more freedom. For some Eastern societies it is still hard to believe that people could be openly gay, so society didn't grant these people respect or the freedom to be who they are.

In Nepal the number of gay individuals is increasing rapidly. Not so long ago, homosexuals here thought they were not only the sole sexual minority in Nepal but in Asia, also. In 2001 The Blue Diamond Society was established in Nepal for gay and lesbian rights. According to the society, around 10,000 people are affiliated, but people are still shy about coming to them. The president, Sunil Babu Panta, thinks that an even greater number has come out throughout Nepal.

Meera Bajracharya is 23, fair-skinned, beautiful and charming, with long black hair. Her facial expression and body attracts any man she passes. She is from Hetauda, a small town 220 kilometers from the capital, Kathmandu. Her family has a good business, earning money from agricultural products.

Laxmi Lama, 22, lives in the same town but her family is lower middle class. Meera does all the household work in her home, but Laxmi practices the martial art, taekwondo. Her physique is that of a tom boy. She has a boy's hairstyle, her gait is similar to a man's, and she likes to wear pants and T-shirts. When she was 15 she found was not attracted to boys. Laxmi says, "My other friends made different boyfriends, but I liked girls."

At the time she met a girl from a town 200 kilometers away, whom she met several times. When she came to meet Laxmi they stayed together in a room for several hours. Laxmi's family soon learned about this sexual behavior and brutally beat her. Laxmi's partner's family arranged for her to marry a man.

After this incident Laxmi was ejected from her home. After few months she met Meera, and the two became close friends. Meera's family felt that because Laxmi was a lesbian, Meera would become a lesbian as well if they continued their relationship. So Meera's family arranged for her to get married quite far from her hometown. When Laxmi learned about this, she left Hetauda for Kathmandu.
As Meera's family was preparing her marriage she knew she couldn't flee to Laxmi. Instead, she decided it was better to die. She went to the bank of the river and drank poison, but she was rescued by the village. Her physical condition was not good, so the doctor referred her to the capital for further treatment; otherwise, he said, she would die.

After 15 days of treatment Meera was stable. When she was conscious she told her younger brother (who was unaware of her relationship with Laxmi) to call Laxmi in the capital. He called Laxmi and told her what had happened. Laxmi came to the hospital, and after a few days the two ran off together.

Back to 'home sweet home'
©2005 Mukunda B.
When Meera's family found out about this incident they reported it to the police, who arrested Laxmi's family and questioned them on the whereabouts of Laxmi and Meera. But the girls were in the shelter of a lawyer. Police mobilized to catch them, and after few days they contacted the Blue Diamond Society and filed a case in the Supreme Court.

According to the court ruling, "If a girl doesn't want to marry a male, she can continue on with her life and live it with anybody." But Nepali law does not describe marriage as between people of the same sex, so Laxmi's and Meera's union was not legal.

One month ago, after two years of hiding their marriage, Laxmi and Meera established the "Mitini Group" (lesbian group), a homosexual rights and counseling association, under the Blue Diamond Society. Meera says, "Every day around 10 lesbians will come to share their problems. In this society, if people know that we are lesbians we will be kicked out from our jobs and our resident flat. In the time of two years we have moved to six places. So we are trying to establish a handicraft company or a restaurant so lesbians and gay people can work together."

Laxmi always wants Meera to dress and act like a beautiful woman, and whenever she goes out she buys lipstick and other cosmetics for her. But Meera doesn't buy anything for Laxmi. Laxmi hands over her income to Meera, the housewife, to run the house. Whenever men look at Meera, Laxmi gets angry.

"She always wants to look at other girls," Meera says. "I don't like this type of behavior." In this way, Laxmi and Meera squabble not unlike heterosexual couples.

So can you physically live as a couple and legally not? What thoughts would you have about your rights? Meera says, "Now we're happy to live with each other. When lesbians can legally marry we will come out into society. But our fight is not finished yet."
*Meera Bajracharya and Laxmi Lama were declared the first lesbian couple in Nepal. In Nepal homosexuals do not have the legal right to marry, so many hide their relationships. Laxmi's and Meera's interview with OhmyNews was their first time to talk with the media and allow photographs to be taken of them in their home.
©2005 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Mukunda Bogati

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
  copyright 1999 - 2019 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077