Saturday Features

Pride and no prejudice

Thamel is a night owl. It stays up till late, privy to all that goes on in its narrow night-time corridors, and sleeps till late into the day.

But on Monday, at noon, early for Thamel, its quiet quarters suddenly came alive, with its denizens, mostly those belonging to the transgender community, donning vibrant attire and handling colourful balloons and placards sporting salient messages. A few minutes on and people began to jostle each other, while others began to lose themselves to the tunes of the insistent, all-consuming band baaja. There was unmistakable pride in their eyes, lined up with a hint of concern, perhaps unwarranted on this day. It was their time, it was easy to surmise, a rather rare scene when all sexual minorities came together in celebration.

It was the annual rite of Gaijatra, a day when no authority figure is off limits for banter, when Newars who have had a death in the family in the past year parade about to commemorate the dead. This day has now taken on additional meaning—it hosts the annual LGBTI Pride Festival—bringing together members of all orientations and their allies for a day of revelry and open-armed acceptance. This year, under the theme ‘Alliances for Solidarity’, marked the 15th edition of the festival.

PHOTOS: KABIN ADHIKARI  
TEXT: TIMOTHY ARYAL

 

Published: 2018-09-01 08:03:10