Queer Womxn Pride

Read this in: Nepali, Nepal Bhasa (DevanagariPrachalit Nepal Script)

Queer Womxn Pride is celebrated every year on International Women’s Day which is March 8. Since 2019, we have been organizing a section of rally along the mainstream women’s right rally. The rally every year begins to gather at 7 am in Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu.

The hashtags for Queer Womxn Pride are:

  • #NepalWomxnPride
  • #NeWoP(the year), such as for 2021 – #NeWoP2021

Updates

Events on Facebook

  • Queer Womxn Pride 2021 [To be posted]
  • Queer Womxn Pride 2020 [Link, Archive]
  • Queer Womxn Pride 2019 [Link, Archive]

Context

The women rights of Nepal has layers of exclusion various marginalized groups are fighting. Women who only face marginalization as a woman have taken up hegemonic spaces while ignoring women who also face other forms of marginalization apart from being a woman. The mainstream women’s rights organization has ignored women from these intersectional experiences and women who face several layers of marginalizations are forced to selude their ‘marginalization as a woman’ to be valid in the women’s rights movement.

In context of Nepal, ‘LGBTIQ’ population has been considered as ‘a separate population’ whereby instead of incorporating the struggles of all women – the ‘LGBTIQ’ population is being considered as something that needs to be addressed differently from the women’s rights movement. It isn’t uncommon to hear from women rights activists that they acknowledge ‘LGBTIQ’ rights and it is a ‘separate issue’. The image of ‘a woman’ has been built in cis-normativity, intersex exclusion and heteronormativity. The mainstream women’s rights movement is yet to acknowledge and embrace women who aren’t cisgender and/or heterosexual.

Trans Women

There is a widespread misconception in Nepal that trans women are ‘third genders’. Due to this misconception the mainstream women rights activism instead of embracing trans women in the movement, contemplate that the ‘third gender’ rights movement should be shown solidarity to. Before 2017/18 – the term ‘transgender’ didn’t exist in Nepali language including various languages spoken in Nepal. The term ‘tesrolingi’ (third gender) was being used as a Nepali language translation to the term ‘transgender’. With the upsurge of the second wave PoMSOGIESEC (People of Marginalized Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Sex Characteristics) movement in Nepal, the term ‘paralaingik‘ emerged which fulfilled the gap. This resulted in trans folks adopting and embracing the terminology that correctly explains their gender identity without being subjected to being referred as ‘third gender’. In 2020, for the first time, trans women in Nepal started submitting applications to address themselves as ‘Female’ in identity cards and certificates. The trail blaze initiated with Rukshana Kapali, followed by Noor KC. The National Transgender Demand Sheet (31 March 2020) along several other demands on recognition of trans folks – upheld that trans women and trans men should be able to tick Female and Male gender markers respectively.

Intersex Women

Intersex women, and intersex people in general have been grouped into the ‘third gender’ box and perceived in a way that if someone has intersex characteristics – they are by default neither man nor woman. With upsurge of the second wave PoMSOGIESEC movement in Nepal, the conversation around SOGIESEC (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Sex Characteristics) further expanded bringing newer discourses in place. The National Charter of Demands on Legal Recognition of Gender Identity (17 May 2020) and the Intersex Demand Sheet (26 October 2020) upheld gender recognition for intersex people – that being intersex is a sex characteristic and intersex people can have a gender identity that is man, woman or non-binary.

Lesbian women, Bisexual women & women of diverse sexualities

The women’s rights movement in Nepal sees heterosexuality as a default sexuality of women and sometimes even that non-heterosexuality is ‘gender-fied’. The use of terms like ‘samalingi‘ in Nepali language has reinforced the misconception that non-heterosexual women are ‘third gender’ or ‘other gender’. The second wave PoMSOGIESEC movement saw the term ‘samayaunik‘ to refer gay/lesbian folks which helps to further create an understanding that gender and sexuality are different.