Nepal: I Grew Up Trans in Nepal, Then Became One of Its LGBTQ Leaders

Manisha Dhakal is executive director of the Blue Diamond Society, and a Human Rights Campaign global innovator.

More than 10 years ago a coalition of Nepali activists, including from the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), which is the country’s largest LGBTI rights organization, filed a case in the Supreme Court of Nepal demanding equal rights for LGBTI people. 

I am a founding member of BDS and have been with the organization since its inception in 2001 when I joined as an office assistant, and am now its executive director. We started with only six volunteers and a rented room and have grown into one of Nepal’s largest nongovernmental organizations with 700 staff and over 40 offices around the country.  

I vividly recall being at the Supreme Court in 2007 during the hearing for the case and was caught off guard when the justice suddenly asked “are there any LGBTI community members who can share their personal experiences?” My heart racing, I immediately raised my hand without hesitation. I shared my personal story of being stigmatized and discriminated every day merely for being a transgender woman: how men grope me on public transport; how thugs on the street whistle at me; and how government officials shamelessly ask me personal questions about my genitals and much more. Read more via Daily Beast