After hosting the country’s first lesbian wedding and recognizing a “third gender” in its census data, Nepal recently announced that it will be hosting an LGBT national sporting event. In what many call South Asia’s most LGBT friendly country, this will be the region’s first sports competition held exclusively for the LGBT community.
The event, called the Blue Diamond National Sport Competition, is scheduled to begin late this September and will feature a multitude of sporting events, including football, martial arts, tennis, volleyball and more. A gay rights group in Kathmandu called the Blue Diamond Society is spearheading the event.
Sunil Babu Pant is a gay rights activist and head of the Blue Diamond Society who also plans to compete in the event on a volleyball team. He is expecting at least 200 athletes from the region to participate and is also welcoming athletes from other South Asian countries.
Pant recently told India Real Time that he hopes the event will “send messages across that LGBTIs can do anything” and will promote healthy lifestyles for the community. The proposed event has been welcomed by many in the region, including members of Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Even the government of Australia is sending 1.6 million Nepali rupees (approximately $20,000) in support of the event.
The purpose of the Blue Diamond National Sport Competition is to provide a space that will bridge barriers and alter mindsets.