Don Davis

Still Looking To get Your Pride On?

Filed By Don Davis | July 06, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Kathmandu, LBGT, Nepal, Pride Festival, travel

kathmandu-stupa-nepal.jpgSo it's July now, and Pride month is already fading into the rear view mirror but what if there was another pride festival coming up, in a remote and exotic part of the world, and it was in a country that is moving to adopt new protections in law for the LBGT community - and, to make it better, what if LBGT, for once, really did include "T?"

Why, that would sound kind of good, wouldn't it?

Well, guess what? The Blue Diamond Society wonders if you might be available on August 25th to join the fun at the 10th annual Gaijatra International Pride Festival in Kathmandu, Nepal.

So check this out: if you live in the Kathmandu Valley, Buddhist or Hindu, at the time of the August full moon, it's time to remember those in your family who have died over the past year, and to do that people basically host do-it-yourself parades throughout the valley - and those parades, all together, are the festival of "Gai Jatra".

Here's a few words from the Blue Diamond Society's website about all this:

Despite its associations with the dead, the festival procession is not a dour or solemn event. In fact, there is a great deal of merry-making connected with it. Many of the participants wear outlandish costumes. Traditionally, a good number of the young Newar men in the procession dress in women's clothing. Over the centuries, the Gai Jatra Festival developed a second purpose. In the days when political expression of any kind was outlawed, Gai Jatra was the day when ordinary citizens could vent their frustrations through political and social satire, without fear of reprisal from the rulers.
Given this history, Gai Jatra seemed to be a ready-made occasion for the Blue Diamond Society, the Nepalese sexual and gender minority association, to stage Nepal's inaugural Pride march.

So now it's 10 years on, and this year's march begins right outside the former Royal Palace in the Durbar Marg District of Kathmandu. They're also planning a memorial for those who died from AIDS or violence last year (that's what Gai Jatra is for, after all), a massive condom promotion and distribution, and they're hoping, in their words, "to end all forms of discrimination, to celebrate diversity and promotion of travel and tourism in Nepal".

So how about that? Pride is pride, apparently, wherever you go - and in this case, you can really go somewhere exotic to check it out.

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