Monday, August 30, 2004

Who is a woman? by Curtis E. Hinkle Founder - International Intersex Organisation

Who is a woman? This is a question that some are now asking themselves. I have heard say that a woman is defined by her birth certificate, her hormones, her chromosomes and her genitals.

But all this still cannot and does not define what a woman is; because there are women with high counts of testosterone who even grow beards, others whose chromosomes say xy, xo, xxy, xxxy, xo/xy not to mention those of us who are born with ambiguous genitalia ... yes, intersex people!

I know of many a woman who expresses her masculine side without wanting nor desiring to be male identified and the same goes for men who demonstrate a rather strong penchant for their softer, more feminine side. These people still represent their gender, they are on some point of the gradient scale of their gender is all.

Masculine women and feminine men is something most of us are familiar with and accept but what of the woman who tells you she is a prisoner in her male body? What of the man who says the same thing, are they hallucinating or fantasizing, have they gone off the deep end of sanity?

Some women spaces do not accept their sisters born with an intersex or transsexed condition. Some women, because of what they were taught, say that these intersex and transsex women aren't really women... they say that such people are working for the patriarchy in order to co-opt womanhood, that intersex and transsex women are out to replace them or invade their sacred spaces and yet these same people accept into their midst IS and TS men, men who were born with what passes for a female body. This allowance for men (FTM) in women's spaces is not right as it says that these men are really 'women' and therefore dismisses and diminishes the very identities of FTM's. So there we have it, a double standard with an inside out twist … accept those who were female born (and invalidate them ) while refusing the females born with male genitalia or atypical genitalia.

Believe me, I would probably react strongly if i were faced with some new aspect of life... I would question and doubt to be sure. Still, there comes a time and a defining moment when enough evidence and proof is gathered in favor of these women to be fully and without question, accepted into the fold of femaleness, into the mysteries they have for so long been denied.

I am one such woman... a very feminine *femme* of the lesbian persuasion, a feminist capable of evolution and deep comprehension of differences, a High Femme!

Yet, even within the lesbian community, my femmeness is dissed and looked at with doubt, not because of my intersex condition but because I am not enough like other dykes, not up to date in style or manner of expression. Naturally, I am a very out queer lesbian, one who stands out in a crowd, sometimes because or my intersex condition and at other times for my expressions of femininity that seems to raise the hackles on some of my sisters since they would view me as a sell out to male dominated customs of seeing a woman… because I love and want to use make-up, lipstick, and above all shop till I drop without ever buying a pair of Birkëndocks (no diss intended).

Women come in all shapes and sizes, beliefs and politics, they issue forth from different milieu's and cultures. Women go through much abuse at the hands of others in society, they are often the butt of mean spirited 'jokes', of disrespect and of outright hate and horrible acts of violence perpetrated against them each and everyday no matter the culture and 'evolved' society in which they happen to live in.

Women can be nurturing or not, they can be basically whatever and whoever they choose to be … because a woman is also the life giver, the source of humanity.

But, still we fall into the trap of trying to be what our oppressors have conditioned us to become… like them.

We act out of fear and ignorance when an intersex or transsexed woman appears before our women's shelters and safe spaces asking for help, support and guidance. We attack these 'strange' women and continue the mutilation that the medical profession begun when these women were but infants … only now, we mutilate their sense of femininity, their self-esteem, their very sense of self. Yet, these 'strange' women are not men at all, never were! To fear an intersexed or transsexed woman because of what they may or may not have under their skirts on the erroneous assumption that they could 'rape' anyone is very sad and shows insincerity since even women rape and abuse other women. I am not advocating that those TS & IS women who still have their unwanted appendages be given any special rights or privileges … only that they be acknowledged and seen as the females they truly are by other women. Maybe if those of us who were fortunate enough to be born without any evident ambiguity as to physical sex were to extend our hands in aid of these IS & TS women and help guide, nurture, educate and simply accept them as they are … women, this action would bring many of them one step closer to discovering their lost heritage of femininity and womanhood… please stand up and help your IS & TS sisters!

A body shape does not make a woman, the brain and how it functions does!

One need not go through menses to feel and think as a woman. Many genetically born females never have the menses and yet they are accepted as women.

For me, what makes a woman a woman, is not chromosomes, hormones, or even the genitals ….. it is the brain, the largest organ in the human body!

Over the last few years, a medical and scientific researcher at UCLA has studied the human brain and found that a differentiation truly does exist between male and female brains … it is measurable!

What this means in effect is that all those women born with an intersex condition called transsexualism may very well be who they have always said they were … women! And one day, there will be a way of seeing this at an early age.

Imagine … if you will, awaking tomorrow morning in the comfort of your bed, you are stretching and coming out of sleep mode … all of a sudden, you feel this lump, and you know right there and then that things are wrong, you wanna scream, you wanna just go back to sleep and then you think to yourself that, hey, maybe I am sleeping and I'm having a silly nightmare … so, I'll just pinch myself and I'll wake up and everything will be ok. But, you already know this isn't so; you summon all of your waning courage and force your hesitant hand down over the swell of your tummy, down lower, yes, to where only yesterday all seemed familiar. Now, your hand brushes up against something that shouldn't be there, it is like an affront to your very sense of self, to you! Your eyes are wet with tears and wide with the mounting feeling of terror and loss of self.

Now, with much effort, you lightly touch this horror, who's identity you have begun to realize; this appendage, this monster.

You think to yourself that it's impossible, that it must certainly be a mistake, some cosmic joke being played on you… this cannot be! It cannot!

Your mind races, wondering how you can deal with this new reality, you think of all the things you will no longer be able to wear, of the womanly pleasures lost forever to you. Then it hits you … how will you now be received by your peers, by your sistahs … will they be understanding, will they still want to shower in your presence? Will they shun you, ask you to leave their sacred spaces? Will they denounce you as a man pretending at being a woman?

What if IS & TS women were simply taken at their word. What if an intersexed or transsexed woman was seen for exactly who she is, a female member of the human species. Women born with these congenital conditions are just like any other woman and it is a shame and a disservice to all women, everywhere to shun them and put them down. When women do this to other women, they are doing the work for the patriarchy they are so dead set against.

Let us all be more loving and accepting of ourselves and our sisters, no matter the appearance or manner in which we present or are born.

Joëlle-Circé Laramée

Friday, August 27, 2004

What are your RIGHTS if the police call you for questioning? - lgbt-india

From: lgbt-india
The following document on legal rights in the case of police arrest or harassment was prepared by the Lawyers Collective HIV AIDS Unit and circulated. It was done in view of the latest police questionning of gays and Kothis in Delhi. - Aditya


Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit

I. What are your RIGHTS if the police call you for questioning?

   The police must make a formal request through a notice requesting you to be available at a particular place and time (S.160, Cr.P.C)

   Notice should give you time of up to seven days to make yourself available for questioning

   You can consult a lawyer and be accompanied by him/her at the time of questioning

   You can refuse to answer any question that incriminates you (S.161, Cr.P.C)

   Any statement recorded by the police has to be read out to you, before you sign it.

You can refuse to sign any statement

Any statement/confession made before the police is not admissible in evidence while prosecuting a case (S.25, Indian Evidence Act).

II. What are your RIGHTS if the police arrest you?

   To be informed of why you have been arrested

   To make a phone call

   To inform at least one friend or relative or other person known to you that you have been arrested and where you are being detained

   To consult a lawyer and be represented by her/him in Court

   If you cannot afford a lawyer, you have the right to ask for Free Legal Aid. The Magistrate who is hearing your case will provide you with a lawyer to help you in your case.

   You cannot be handcuffed, but all means necessary to arrest you can be used if you resist

   To be produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours of being arrested

   To be released from police custody on bail if you have been charged with a bailable offence

   To apply for bail in the Magistrate’s Court if you have been charged with a non-bailable offence

   To be examined at the time of your arrest. Any injuries on your body must be recorded

   To have a medical examination by a trained doctor every 48 hours during your detention

   To meet your lawyer during interrogation

III. The police have no right to harass you

   Police persons are bound to act within the law Harassment and extortion amount to misconduct

Police persons may be suspended and action taken against them for misconduct under the Indian Penal Code (If a public servant disobeys any law, knowing that such a disobedience will cause injury to some one, he/she can be punished)

IV. What are the provisions of Criminal law that can protect me from harassment/violence?

Coercion and physical violence is punishable by law. The Indian Penal Code makes the following acts punishable:
   Assault, which includes a threat of physical violence
   Wrongful restraint
   Wrongful confinement
   Voluntarily causing hurt
   Causing hurt in order to extort money or even a confession

V. What action can I take if I face harassment/violence?

   You can contact a human rights organization for support and legal advice

   Family/relatives or a friend can send an urgent telegram to the Commissioner of Police, if you are picked up by the police or any other investigating agencies for questioning or any other purpose without a formal arrest and they are unaware of the place of detention.

   You can make a criminal complaint at the police station and make sure that a First Information Report (FIR) is registered

   You also have the option of making a complaint to the Magistrate. This may be a better idea where you have faced violence of harassment at the hands of a police person

   If the person harassing you is a police person, you can make a complaint to the Commissioner of Police and ask for a departmental inquiry against him/her

Being gay is not a crime in India. S.377 of the IPC only criminalizes sexual acts like anal/oral sex, not any sexual orientation. The section applies to all persons equally, including heterosexuals.

This is not a legal advice or opinion and we are not liable for any person acting or any act committed pursuant to the abovementioned statements. You may take appropriate legal opinion/advice in the matter.

Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit
Phone # 24321101/2,

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Brief report of experience of Metis of their last 13 days


This is just a short note from Blue Diamond Society to thank you all for your support and solidarity for our members who had been imprisoned during the past 2 weeks and released on Friday on bail. Your good wishes, words of encouragement and, in some very welcome instances, financial support, have been really tremendous and much appreciated. It is very encouraging to know that there are so many people out there who care!!

Undoubtedly, we still have many challenges that lie ahead for us in Nepal, but knowing that we have your support and encouragement, make them easier to face. The next immediate challenge will be the hearing by the Supreme Court on the proposed ban on open homosexual activities in Nepal. Likewise, on 20th September 2004 those imprisoned and released on bail have to report to the Chief District Officer for a hearing on their “public nuisance” charge. On behalf of all the 39 members who were imprisoned, we send our sincere and grateful thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Sunil Babu Pant
Blue Diamond Society

Brief report of experience of Metis of their last 13

According to the arrested metis, all of them were taken saying that they were being taken for a meeting and needed them to identify the guy who’d been caught under the suspicion of Jayaram’s case. Some of them were dancing inside Babylon disco and most of them were on their way to the disco. The police that were their clients took them and most of them were ones that they knew from before. They went with them because they approached them in a friendly manner and told them that they were all being taken for two hours meeting. After they were taken they were all kept in a room that wasn’t even big enough for five people and said they would be freed after questioning them. Most of the metis that were arrested were just out to enjoy themselves in the discos and wanted a night of dancing. Inside the prison on the first day when one of the metis wanted to use the bathroom they didnt open the door and when he yelled at them to take him to the bathroom they beat him up with a stick till it broke. Due to this he suffered from fever and was all shaky and even after seeing his state the police didn’t take him to see the doctor or get any medications for him. Three police came and when he asked them for the medicine they said we’ll get it and later just laughed. So Blue Diamond Society had to take the medication for him after being informed. The police also beat up another meti, Amber Majhi who was attacked by three police after he protested after seeing a journalist videotaping them inside the cell.

This was yet another discrimination from the police, they violated the rights of all the metis by letting the media expose them when there are a lot of metis that haven’t opened themselves at their homes and could face difficulties later. There was a lot of verbal harassments from the police, they called them names and said they will shoot them when they protested against being locked up for being innocent. They also said that “Acid should be put on the face of the hijaras and that they don’t deserve to live”. The police called them names and even got other people to see them. They were laughed at and everyone feels like they were punished for a crime that they hadn’t done. They were kept for a long period of time and some were tortured psychologically by saying they were going to be kept for more than six months. Everyone feels like it was very inhuman from the police to trick him or her into going with him or her and locking him or her up for no reason at all. They didn’t even give them any explanation as to why they were being kept inside.

They were just verbally abused. While giving statement a lot of them were made to sign on something that they couldn’t read since there are a lot of illiterate metis in the arrested 39. Others who could read were made to sign and not given a chance to read what they were signing. They were all pressured and threatened and made to sign on statements where anything could be written.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Born Free

Metroplus, The Hindu, Bangalore Edition- Saturday,
August 14, 2004

Famila could well be an icon for the freedom of spirit.  But the untimely death of the hijra activist also speaks of how such
unfashionable icons are crushed by an insensitive society

What do freedom and choice mean? Who has access to them and who is constantly denied the right to a life of dignity?  The life of Famila and her tragic death at 24 raises poignant questions, which echo with a special significance on the eve of the Independence Day.

Everyone remembers with great clarity the first time they met Famila or the first conversation they had with her. A filmmaker
friend says with mild embarrassment that she remembers the way, the exact way, in which the light was falling on Famila's face the first time they met.

As a little boy

However, many of us knew little of the young boy she had been, born in a lower middle class family with perhaps an unremarkable life as a student in Sheshadripuram College.  In her late teens, Famila experienced her Nirvana and joined the hijra community.  It was in her subsequent role as an activist that many of us met her.  In one of her early public appearances, she spoke at the National Conference on Human Rights at the hill station Panchgani in the winter of 2000.   The half-frozen, issue-numbed delegates suddenly sat up at the sight of this soft-spoken, tall, beautiful hijra sex-worker, who spoke nervously but with enormous passion of the life many hijras led. It was the last time, perhaps, that Famila faltered in her public speaking. Even so, she had the audience - which consisted of the activist, the compassionate, and the curious - all equally awash in tears.

Famila was disinclined to martyrdom at the altar of human rights.  On her own steam and as an employee of Sangama (the NGO working for sexuality minorities rights), her primary focus was firmly in making a better life for her community both as a human rights activist and as a member of the community who was unafraid to critique or to lead.  But in the figure of Famila emerged a person who was able to link the sex-workers' movement with the LGBT movements. She was able to inspire jaded academics across the country and sections of the women's movement tired from decades of prosaic work.

She saw the issues of the marginalised everywhere as connected.  In 2001, she went to the Narmada valley during yet another crisis caused by the dam submergence.  "The first time I met Famila was at a protest organised by the Narmada Solidarity Forum," says Sumathi Murthy, classical singer and close friend of Famila.  "We stood in the rain at a street corner holding placards. We became friends.  Later we became colleagues at Sangama.  She ran the hijra outreach programme.  I learnt more about LGBT rights from her than anyone else. Through her way of life I learnt how she was capable of being critical of what she perceives to be the patriarchal structures of the hijra community.  She said many times that she had been lucky in the fact that her guru Revathi was progressive.  Others were not so lucky."  Most importantly, her confident straddling of the worlds she occupied moved others to courage.  "When I left home, I had already heard of Famila.  She helped me negotiate with my family and re-establish ties.  Her home was refuge for many people like me," says Kajol, a young hijra activist.  Her leadership was certainly responsible for the birth of Vividha, an autonomous group for sexuality minorities.

Revathi, Famila's guru in the hamaam, was one, who through her own progressive notions helped Famila grow.  "Even while other hijras were hesitating, she was a pathbreaker who came out of the hamaam and gained an identity of her own. Though she was my chela in the hijra community, I learnt a lot from her.  She changed my life and my thinking process and taught me a lot.

Despite her radical vision of the future, Famila was a creature of the moment. Unlike some harried activists who wear their harried greyness like a badge of honour, Famila had style.  Naturally a head turner with her Amazon-like beaut, she dressed with panache and danced with extraordinary grace.  One year she was the runner-up at the hotly contested beauty pageant at the hijra festival in Koovagam in Tamil Nadu.  She was keen on establishing non-doom-and-gloom cultural spaces for hijras in contemporary India.  She was pivotal in dreaming up and organising the colourful Hijra Habba in Bangalore, in 2002 and 2003.  She envisaged Hijra Habba as a forum for public visibility and a space for articulating significant questions for minority communities

Difficult year

Why did someone like Famila commit suicide? For many of her friends, the grieving has not yet begun because it is difficult to imagine her as anything less than monumentally strong and alive.  The last year of Famila's life certainly had been a difficult one.  Was it a more difficult one than others? "The life and work that she had loved had been taken away from her.  It was only natural that she was depressed," says LGBT activist from Mumbai.  Dismissed from her job she had gone back to being a sex-worker.  It is difficult to speak of Famila in terms of stigma of marginalisation.  She had always said that's sex-work was not anything she was remotely ashamed of. A cloud hangs over her resignation and the deftness with which she was pushed out of the limelight. Even now, many will naturally seek to gain from her untimely death.  There was certainly some amount of unhappiness in her personal life.  To speculate or not, to blame or not, to rationalize or not; it depends on our inclinations.

But there are rumours slowly growing louder, that being the poster child of the LGBT movement was not a nourishing one for a young person facing tremendous challenges to begin with.  In waves, people testify to the scores of times she has lent her clear head and compassion to them.  How did we let her die? This is the uncomfortable question we lesser beings must ask

-Nisha Susan

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Nepal: Release Sexual Rights Defenders

For Immediate Release:
From: "Scott Long"
For more information, please contact:
In New York, Scott Long: +1-212-216-1297
In Brussels, Vanessa Saenen: +32-2-732-2009

Nepal: Release Sexual Rights Defenders

(New York, August 12, 2004) Nepalese authorities should release 39 members of a group defending sexual rights who were arbitrarily detained on Sunday, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the Nepalese government to end harassment of sexual minorities,including men who have sex with men and transgender people, and launch full investigations into allegations of violence against them.

On the evening of August 7, police in the capital Kathmandu carried out raids on restaurants, bars, and streets frequented by “metis,” or transgender people. . Thirty-nine people were arrested. All were members of the Blue Diamond Society, a nongovernmental organization that provides HIV-prevention services and engages in advocacy for the rights of sexual minorities. Those arrested have been detained at Hanuman Dhoka police station in the capital. While no charges have yet been filed,
officers reportedly told a Blue Diamond Society representative that homosexuals are “disturbing society.”

“The Blue Diamond Society has faced harassment from the Nepalese government as they defend the rights of some of the most vulnerable members of society,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Project at Human Rights Watch. “The Supreme Court’s recent threat to close down the group’s activities has now been followed by direct police action. Nepal’s government must
decide whether it wants to enforce homophobia or protect basic human rights.”

On July 12, a Nepalese Supreme Court judge ordered the Ministry of Home Affairs to show cause why the Blue Diamond Society should not be banned for advocating “open homosexual activities.” The Ministry has still not responded to the court order. In a July 23 letter to the Ministry, Human Rights Watch urged Nepalese authorities to respect basic freedoms of expression and association.

“In a context of an escalating civil war, respect for the rule of law is steadily eroding in Nepal,” said Long. “Nepalese authorities must show their commitment to ensuring basic rights for all people without discrimination.”

The Blue Diamond Society has documented a string of incidents in which “metis” and men suspected of homosexual conduct have been violently attacked, by police or other assailants. Most recently, early in the morning of August 7 in Kathmandu, three unidentified men reportedly attacked Jayaram, a “meti,” and cut his throat and nearly severed his finger. Jayaram remains hospitalized.

The Blue Diamond Society claims that police fail to investigate allegations of violent attacks on metis and men who have sex with men, and often participate in the violence.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

From: Aditya

The Director General of Police
Royal Nepali Government

Dear Sir,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Asia Director of ILGLaw, anInternational body of lawyers and Jurists who work on issues concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender persons, and other sexual minority. I am also a Core Group Member of the Asia Pacific Rainbow, a coalition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender persons, and other sexual minority individuals and Organisations in the Asia-Pacific Region. I am a Board member of the Indian Network of NGOs. I am a practicing Lawyer
in New Delhi, India. I have also assisted Blue Diamond Society in some matters relating to Human Rights in the past, and continue to do so at present.

It is with extreme concern that I am writing to you about the deteriorating situation of Gay persons in Nepal and of Métis, the
traditionally feminised males. In my past posting to you I have highlighted some of the violence and violation of the basic human rights and basic dignity of Métis, including photographs of the attempted murder of one Meti is Kathmandu. It saddens me to say that your police force has been responsible for most of these documented assaults, and/or they have abetted and let the perpetrators carry on with impunity by refusing to act on any of the matters that have been brought to their notice.

Now to aggravate the matter your police force have arrested 39 Métis without any basis and is presently fishing around for possible charges to press against them. However I am sure your good self would be aware, given the high office you hold, that this is not the way the police force of any civilised society acts. A police force does not arrest anyone because of their own imbedded prejudices and thereafter tries and find out if the arrested can be charged on cooked up and false charges.
The liberty of a person can only be abridged by specific procedures that are laid down in law and Nepal has such laws in place which your police force is summarily disregarding to abet its own biases against a segment of Nepali society. The homophobia of your force is a blot on the good name of not only the entire police force, but also of the Nepali Nation,
and the conduct of your force has thus far been of the most appalling insensitivity, cruelty, without any basis in law or rules of civic conduct, and in violation of all the International Law guarantees on Human Rights that Nepal has signed on to and promised to ensure for its citizen subjects.

For your information, Nepal is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its optional protocols and those protocols have been invoked in the UNHCHR in the past wherein it has held that the state cannot have laws that discriminates against homosexuals. More importantly, Nepal does not have any law against homosexuality, and most rightly so for any civilised and forward looking country should not have it either. Yet your police force is acting in a manner that suggests that you have started a campaign of persecution against Métis and other homosexual persons in Nepal. The very fact that there is no law against homosexuality in Nepal makes the actions of your force illegal both under your domestic law and under the International Laws that Nepal is obliged to follow. Your force has opened itself to action against it available in Both Nepali Law as well as International Human Rights Law that Nepal has signed on to.

You are therefore requested to personally intervene to:

1] Ensure that the arrested Métis are released from custody forthwith;

2] Ensure that Blue Diamond Society is provided with security for its staff and personnel so that they can carry on their important and vital work of prevention of HIV amongst Males who have Sex with Males [MSM], since such work is squarely within the purview of the AIDS Control Policies of the Royal Nepal Government;

3] Initiate training and sensitisation work with your police force, possibly in collaboration with Blue Diamond Society, so that police personnel do not feel that they have a right given them by the virtue of their uniforms to rape Métis and/or act with violence and indignity towards them;

4] Expedite the investigations into pending cases/complaints that have been filed by Métis in various Police Stations on violence that they have faced in the past;

5] Instruct all police stations that they should not refuse to take complaints from Métis when Métis want to file such complaints for any violence or abuse that they face;

6] Ensure that all complaints that are filed with regards to violence and abuse against Métis and other MSM are investigated thoroughly and expeditiously and that the guilty are brought to justice.

I hope that you shall act urgently on these very legitimate requests as they form a vital part of your duty as the head of Nepali Police.

Thank you and best regards

Aditya Bondyopadhyay

From: sunil pant

Dear all

Police hasn't release our arresyted members, they even refused to meet with us. We have supplied the food and drinks for the night. two of the Metis are sick. there is no coopeartion from the police. this is what we plaing to do tomorrow:

In response to the latest extreme violence and the arrest of vulnerable population by the police in Kathmandu last night, Blue Diamond Society, with collaboration of FWLD (Forum for women, law and development), Maiti Nepal, Nepal plus, watch, GWP, human rights activists, journalists etc. organising a protest rally.


Peaceful rally from Ratna Park at 2 PM
Proceed around Tundhikhel
And Closing point at Ratnapark
Press conference and Open letter to the Government at
Ratnapark at 3PM
Date: August 11 2004
Join us for solidarity and support

For more information call at 4443350/4445147
Blue Diamond Society

(Shiv Bhakta Marg-344, 
Khursani Tar, Lazimpat, 
Postal Address: GPO Box: 8975, EPC NO: 5119
Ph: +977 1 4443350, 4445147
Fax: +977 1 4438600


Following is a series of emails received today from Sunil Pant, director of the Blue Diamond Society in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Many of you know Sunil and Blue Diamond Society (BDS).   For those who don't, I met Sunil Pant at the Bangkok International AIDS Conference and have since corresponded with him at some length about the worsening situation for gays, MSMs and Metis (cross-dressing men) in Nepal.   I can vouch for Sunil's genuineness and accuracy.

BDS is a gay rights and HIV prevention organisation.  Its website is   Andy Quan, who is referred to in the emails copied below, is the International Policy Officer with the the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO)

Some background is that a fundamentalist has recently brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of Nepal against the Nepali government calling upon the government to close down BDS as illegal and immoral. We don't know to what extent, if at all, this crackdown is inspired by or a response to that writ.

There is a history of violence against gays and Metis in Nepal. That violence involves the police. There is particular cause for concern for the safety and well-being of the 39 Blue Diamond Society members detained so far.

Please notify Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in your country.  Please feel free to publish the facts reported here - pass them on to other organisations.  Please take what steps you can to put pressure on the government of Nepal to make sure these people are released safe and sound and immediately.  At this stage, it is looking as if, to be successful, interventions will need to come from international agencies and other countries' government.

Thank you

David Buchanan


At 10:00 AM +0545 10/8/04, wrote:
Press Note
Date: 10.08.04

Last night around 22:30 PM 39 members of Blue Diamond Society were haphazardly arrested and taken to Hanuman Dhoka Police Station, center of investigation in the heart of Kathmandu. They have been detained till now without food and have been treated inhumanly without having any faults and we, Blue Diamond Society are very concerned. They were arrested along with other people from different occupation and this is against the Human Rights and rights of sexual minorities of any national or international laws. This also shows carelessness and discrimination done by the police. In addition the inhuman behavior done by the police is not only arresting but also brutally beating up the arrested MSMs, which is against any principles.

Thus, we request His Majesty Government of Nepal to release our captured members without any conditions. Basically, Blue Diamond Society is involved in purely promoting human rights and HIV awareness among sexual minorities in Nepal without any causing harm to anyone, thus we request HMG of Nepal and the other related organizations not cause any harm which may effect our memberâs basic human rights and not to repeat this kind of any activities in the future.

Sunil B Pant

At 2:58 PM +1000 10/8/04, Andy Quan wrote:
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, 10 August 2004 2:51 PM
To: Andy Quan
Subject: Re: MSM are swiftly arrested in Kathmandu.

Dear Andy

We don't know the actual reason, the police saying "gays are not timely and the society is not ready to accept so gays are disturbing the society'. One of the sub inspector told me that its from the higher level of police doing. there have been pretty intense attacks and violence against our members recently. So they my come to the office and arrest anybody if the
government has adopted the policy to ban us. All the 39 members are still in costly with out food and water.

At 3:51 PM +1000 10/8/04, Andy Quan wrote:

The police is trying to file a case against our 39 members on Public offence. God knows how long they will have to suffer at the police custody without food and drinks.
Do something....

David Buchanan SC
Forbes Chambers
11/185 Elizabeth Street
Sydney     NSW     2000

Tel: +61 2 9390 7777
Fax: +61 2 9261 4600

Dear Sir/Madam, Friend, and colleague,

The attached photographs are of an attempted murder of a Meti in Kathmandu Nepal. His throat was slit and his finger was almost severed. He is still fighting for his life in hospital. This mail is a little long, but I urge you to please take the time out to read it.

I am writing this mail out of extreme concern for the developing deteriorating situation of same sex attracted persons in Nepal. Nepal has traditionally had a large and significant homosexual population and many of them are gendered males who are feminised. They have for a long time been hidden due to social stigma and oppression and socialised only amongst themselves in public and private spaces that was not usually known to the general public. In Nepali language, such feminised male persons are called Métis.

The thus far invisibility of the homosexual population of Nepal was lifted to some degree since the year 2000 when Blue Diamond Society [BDS for short] started working with Males who have sex with other males [MSM] on HIV and AIDS. Working with MSM on HIV was squarely within the purview of the AIDS Control Policy of the government of Nepal and the
government functionaries have regularly participated in the activities organised by BDS.

Since HIV prevention cannot take place in an atmosphere where the rights of those who are most infected and affected is not protected and promoted, BDS was also therefore compelled to take on the issue of the protection and promotion of the rights of Métis in Nepal. This led to obvious backlash from a section of society that are still holding on to a medieval mindset and sadly the government have been guilty of acts of both omission and of commission that has led to an aggravation of the
kind of organised oppression against Métis exemplified by the attached photographs.

In the usually patriarchist Nepali society, any male person who do not conform to the culturally accepted norms of masculine behaviour are deemed unworthy and seen as commodities available for exploitation. Therefore feminised Métis are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Such abuse takes on many forms, including physical violence, sexual violence, rape, and increasingly state supported and sponsored violence and oppression. Sadly a large part of the Nepali Army and Police come from the same patriarchist mindset and the limited noise made by the higher ups in the constabulary or the army are usually ignored by the foot-soldiers who continue with their campaign of abuse and violence. They also derive their impunity from the fact that every time any violence or violation is brought to the notice of the authorities, are consigned to the dustbin and no action is ever taken against any police or army personnel. They therefore continue to feel that they are above the law and can therefore target the Métis as they please.

The government of Nepal by its inaction is abetting this process and is clearly in violation of the commitments that it has made internationally for the protection and promotion of Human Rights of its citizen subjects. Given Below is a list of some of the oppressive activities in the last year against Métis that clearly show a pattern of abuse and violence, impossible without government omissions towards its responsibilities, often with active government participation [not in chronological order]:

1] On the morning of 1:30 am, 5th Feb 2004, in Sundhara area near Babylon disco club: Violence by a man who seemed to be from the armed forces against a group of Metis including assaulting some with a knife. All the Metas decided to write complain and approached Durbar Marg Police Station. The police, also, refused to file a complain saying Sundhara is NOT their area and Metas were suggested to go to the Jana Path Police station. But in Jana Path police station turned even worse,
the police there abused all the Metas and alleged them to go away.

2] On the early morning of June 1, 2004 about 3:30 am 3 Metis (cross dressing males) named Joshma, Rupa and Jaya (named changed to protect their identity) age 31, 22 and 32 were having snacks in Oriental Restaurant, from where they were picked up and forcefully taken to the White Lotus Guest House, where they were raped. A complaint was filed and the police arrested two of the rapists s they were drunk. Case of rape is still pending. Progress unknown.

3] 28th April 2004, at 6:45PM in Pashupati Temple area, Amrit Adhikari, field staff of Blue Diamond Society, while doing his duty, which is educating men on HIV/AIDS, safe sex and distributing condoms was assaulted by a man known as Haddi Kale. Amrit was kicked on his back, punched on the face, his safe sex education kit bag was taken and all the condoms destroyed, then he was accused of damaging social morale by distributing condoms. Then Haddi Kale took his money, NRs 1500,
punched him again and forced him to leave the place saying that the stolen money would be enough for Haddi kale
for a week of drinks and sex. The Pashupati Temple area security personnel didn’t do anything except were a silent pectator. No one tried to help Amrit or stop Haddi Kales assault. Next morning, 29th April 2004, Amrit along with BDS representative went to the Gaushala Police Station, which is near Pashupati Temple, to file a case of assault. The police didn’t register the application saying that it was more important to capture the perpetrator rather than registering the application. So
two policemen, Amrit and myself went to Pashupati area to look for the ‘Haddi Kale’. The policemen pretended not to know him despite seeing him in the area. Amrit was so scared and thought if he identified Haddi Kale’ in front of the police, ‘Haddi Kale’ might kill him in future. He suspected that he would get not get any protection from the Police. Amrit didn’t identify Haddi Kale to the Police. It is later learnt that this particular criminal gives regular money to the police so that they keep turning the other way.

4] It was about 3:15am early morning 7th August 2004, JayaRam (photo attached) has his throat slit in a public area in Jamal, and his finger severed. He is admitted to emergency unit at the Bir hospita near by. The Police were called. Other Métis report to BDS that a group of persons had threatened them with violence at the same area as well that night at about 1 AM.

5] July 2004: a writ is filed by a lawyer in the Nepal Supreme Court against the government of Nepal, claiming that it is violating Nepali Law by allowing an organization like the BDS to exist in Nepal, and claiming therein that homosexuality is against Nepali Culture. The writ is pending.

6] July 2004: The police baton charge a peaceful demonstration of Metis organized by the BDS to protest the continued oppression of Metis and the government inaction. Many are injured.

7] on the night of 9th August 2004, at 10.30 PM, as a reaction to the outcry on the attempted murder of a Meti and the continued oppression against them that the government does very little to check and control, the Nepal government reacts by arresting 39 members of Blue Diamond Society, who were taken to Hanuman Dhoka Police Station, center of
investigation in the heart of Kathmandu. They are still detained at the time of this posting, and have not been given either food or water and have been treated inhumanly without having any faults. It is a classic case of the government trying to impose collective punishment against a whole segment of the citizens in violation of all international law standards.

What is mentioned here is just some of the abuses that have occurred recently. BDS has a whole list of such abuses that it has recorded over a period and it all shows a pattern of abuse.

The Nepali Government needs to act up and stand up to its commitments towards human rights. The addresses in the ‘To’ field of this letter belong to the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Nepal, the Ministry of external Affairs, the Ministry of Home [internal/security] affairs, the ministry of law and justice, and the Director of Nepali police respectively. Also provided at the end of this mail is a list of Nepali Government Functionaries with their contact details. Some do not have any e-mail. Please fax them you protest. Please write in your protest letter to these authorities and ensure that they treat all Nepalis
including Métis with the dignity they deserve and protect their Human rights.

This is a matter of grave concern. Some of you have the power to ensure that the situation changes. Those in the media can create the necessary impetus by publicizing this. Those with international agencies having influence over the Nepali Government can call the government to account. The office of the UN-OCHCR can take on this matter and call on the
government of Nepal to task. This letter is an appeal to all to do whatever you can to help.

Thank you and best regards

Aditya Bondyopadhyay

Nepali Government Contact List
  King of Nepal:
  Office of H.M. the King
  Narayanhity Royal Palace
  Durbar Marg
  Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977-1-413577 ; 227577
  Fax : 977-1-227395 ; 411955

Prime Minister:
  The Office of Prime Minister
  Singh-Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 227955
  Fax : 977 1 227286 or 428570

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  Shital Niwas,
  Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel: 009771-416011-15 / 416002
  Fax: 009771-416016
  E mail: ,

Ministry of Law and Justice
  Mr. Mahanta Thakur
  Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel: 220386/ 220621
  Fax: 220684/ 224633

Home Minister:
  Govinda Raj Joshi,

Minister of Home Affairs (As of July, 2000)
  The Office of the Home Minister
  Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 224737
  Fax : 977 1 227187 or 977 1 241942

Foreign Minister:
Chakra Prasad Banstola

Royal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  Kathmandu, Nepal
  tel : 011 977 1 416011
  Fax : 011 977 1 416016

Minister of Law and Justice:
  Mahanta Thakur (7/00)
  Prem Badhur Singh (97)
  Singh Darbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 011 977 1 220987

Attorney General of Nepal:
  Kumar Chudal (99)
  Office of the Attorney General of Nepal
  Singh Darbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 227197
  Fax : 977 1 227282

Inspector of General Police:
  Mr. Ram Kaji Bantawa?
  Mr. Achyut
  Krishna Kharel (2/00)

The Inspector General of Police
  Police Head Quarters
  GPO box 407
  Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 411210
  Fax : 977 1 415594 or 415593

Dept of Jail Administration:
  Krishna Prasa Sharma (99)
  Baneshwor, Kathmandu,Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 471307

Narcotic Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit:
  Keshav Prasad Baral (99)
  New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 482 187
  Fax : 977 1 496 578

Dept of National Investigation of Crime:
  Chief Govind Karma Thapa (99)
  Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 224 559, 242592

Special Police Dept:
  Chief Officer Madan Bahadur Pandey (99)
  Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 227096, 417486

Secy. of Communist Party:
  Madhav Kumar Nepal
  His Excellency (HE) Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal
  General Secretary Nepal Communist Party
  Kathmandu, Nepal

US Ambassador to Nepal:
  HE Mr. Ralph Frank
  US Embassy
  PO Box 295
  Panipokhari,Kathmandu, Nepal
  Tel : 977 1 411613, 411179, 412718, 413661
  Fax :  977 1

Saturday, August 07, 2004

An attempted Murder of a Meti in Kathmandu

From: lgbt-india

07 August 04
I am writing to express deep concern about attempted murder of a Meti (cross dressing male) by some men in Kathmandu today early morning.

Suraj, a Meti with his other Meti friends, was waiting for a cup of tea after night disco in Jamal at the footpath shop. Suraj saw a big crowd nearby and approached out of curiosity. What he saw was shocking. JayaRam (another Meti) crying for help to get him to Hospital near by, Jayaram was trying to stop the intense bleeding from his throat and his left hands thumb was nearly completely severed. Suraj asked Jaya Ram -what happened?- Jayaram couldn’t speak, he was telling suraj by the sign language that his neck has been cut with a knife. Suraj crossed the crowd and celled other Metis (Bhumika and Rajesh) and rushed Jayaram by the taxi to Bir hospital, a government hospital in the center of Katmandu. The bleeding was intense; he was taken to the emergency unit at the Bir hospital. It was about 3:15am early morning today.

Police were called. Some other Metis also heard about the incident and rushed to Bir Hospital. Then I got a call from a Meti
to come to the Bir Hospital to help Jayaram. When I got there he was lying in a bed, breathing through a tube put by the doctor into his throat and his hand was rapped by a piece of cotton cloth and Jayaram was receiving a saline drip.

After talking to the doctor I realized it was a serious case and assured doctor that Blue Diamond Society will look after Jayaram, everything including financial support. Then the doctor ordered two pack of blood, syringes, some more bottles of water, medicine for anesthesia, etc..

Then at 8pm some other doctors arrived and checked him again and he was admitted at ENT ward. Then more medicine and tools were supported and supplied by Blue Diamond Society and he has been taken to the operation theater.

I was waiting outside, Pradip (another Meti) Arrived and mentioned that about 1 PM he was also threats by a group of three men to have sex -if you don’t agree to have sex with us we will cut your throat with a knife and kill you-

Its probably the same guys abducted Jayaram to the little dark street in Ashan, not far from Rani Phokhari and tried to kill him.

Blue Diamond Society denounces such cruel act of attempting to murder the Metis and demands an immediate and through investigation of this attempted murder and bring the perpetrators into justice. We call your support and we wish our friend Jayarams fastest recovery.

Sunil B Pant
Director, Blue Diamond Society
Ph:+9877 1 4443350/4445147,
GPO Box:8975, EPC No:5119 Kathmandu, Nepal


Meti assaulted for refusing to have sex
 Himalayan News Service
Kathmandu, August 7:
A group of unidentified persons yesterday night abducted and attempted to murder a meti (cross-dressing male) at Ason, Kathmandu, after he denied to have sex with them. According to a press release issued by the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), a gay organisation, some armed persons abducted Jayaram from Jamal. They later stabbed him on his throat and his left thumb was severely wounded in the attack. The BDS said Suraj took him to the hospital with the help of other metis. Director of the BDS, Sunil B Pant, said Jayaram’s condition is critical. The Blue Diamond Society has denounced the attack and demanded an immediate and thorough investigation into the incident.