Nepal Appealing to Gay Tourists

Published Date Author: , March 12th, 2010

Nepal wants to paint Mount Everest pink. It wants gay honeymooners trekking through the Himalayas. It wants to host the world’s highest same-sex wedding at Everest base camp. But mainly, the conservative Hindu nation wants a chunk of the multibillion dollar gay tourist market to help pull it out of poverty.

That quest – brushing aside historical biases in pursuit of economic opportunity – is symbolic of one of the gay rights movement’s most stunning successes. Just five years ago, police were beating gays and transsexuals in the streets. Now, the issue of gay rights is almost passe here.

Nepal has an openly gay parliamentarian, it is issuing “third gender” identity cards and it appears set to enshrine gay rights – and possibly even same-sex marriage – in a new constitution. “(It) is not an issue anymore, for anybody,” said Vishnu Adhikari, a 21-year-old lesbian. “Society has basically accepted us.”

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