U.S. Embassy and Blue Diamond Society Partner to Make Disaster Risk Reduction LGBTI-Inclusive

U.S. Embassy and Blue Diamond Society Partner to Make Disaster Risk Reduction LGBTI-InclusiveApril 27, 2012– The U.S. Embassy partnered with the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights organization at a workshop this morning to discuss ways to include the LGBTI community in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and relief programs.

The event, held at the Blue Diamond Society’s office in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, featured presentations from Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), USAID, and the Nepal Red Cross Society. Topics covered included Earthquake Risks, Personal Preparedness Measures, and How to Access Humanitarian Assistance.

The goal of the half-day workshop was to bring stakeholders from the LGBTI and DRR communities together to discuss how programs could be more LGBTI-inclusive.

“It’s important that our programs are accessible and appropriate for all populations,” said Sheila Roquitte, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction Office at USAID. “Working with the Blue Diamond Society, we believe targeted risk reduction education within the LGBTI community can be an effective tool for outreach.”

The Blue Diamond Society was founded in 2001 to advocate for and protect the sexual health and human rights of LGBTI people in Nepal. While research has demonstrated that LGBTI people can be especially vulnerable in the wake of disasters, the U.S. Embassy hopes that by partnering with local LGBTI organizations, it can reach out to communities and reduce risk.

USAID is committed to addressing LGBT rights in all of its development activities, including disaster risk reduction.  Earlier this month at a film screening on LGBT Human Rights, USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg said, “Promoting LGBT rights is not just a question of fairness but it is also a matter of effectiveness.  The work of development experts is done more comprehensively and successfully when we ensure full inclusion and equality for all, including people with disabilities, indigenous groups, women, and the LGBT community.”

1 Response to “U.S. Embassy and Blue Diamond Society Partner to Make Disaster Risk Reduction LGBTI-Inclusive”


  1. 1 krishna February 13, 2013 at 12:53 am

    MEGALOMANIA IN A HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION: THE CASE OF NEPAL’S BLUE DIAMOND SOCIETY AND SUNIL BABU PANT
    Kedar Maharjan
    Issue
    The NGO concerned is Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society (BDS). This organization was spawned a decade ago in a whirlpool of national politics when overnight the small Himalayan kingdom was precariously yet peaceably transformed, not just into a republic, but an inclusive one could potentially embrace the country’s remote populations, its multiple ethnicities, its women, and its social minorities.
    The BDS was the brainchild of Sunil Babu Pant (nicknamed ‘Panties’ behind his back) the objects of which were dedicated ostensibly to attainment of civil equality for Nepal’s historically oppressed sexual minorities. Given the reality that vestiges of feudalism and patriarchy would persist in Nepal’s national psyche long after the monarchy’s removal, it was predictable that the BDS would court controversy. Although political modernisation has successfully unpeeled layers of tradition in several areas of Nepalese life, the country’s LGBTI people are still largely ignored and unrepresented.
    The political activism of the BDS has frequently caught spotlights in international human rights advocacy circles. It’s also heightened Nepalese awareness of the existence (and plight) of sexual minorities. Paradoxically, the everyday quality of life for Nepal’s LGBTI people stays unchanged – in fact, their oppression might be worsening. While this turnaround can be partly attributed to the fragility of Nepal’s neonate democracy, the organization’s corporate dysfunction, disturbing reports of which are published with increasing frequency, is rapidly sabotaging both the public credibility of the BDS and the cause of Nepalese LGBTI rights.
    The picture of the BDS that has latterly emerged is sickening. The organization has degenerated into shop-front of drag-queens who camouflage Pant’s parasitic pursuit of political ambition. The most obvious of several unanswered questions is why the BDS’s record in protecting Nepal’s LGBTI people is so abysmal when overseas funding in support of its objects seems limitless? Another is why only a coterie of transgendered (TG) people, who are also on the BDS payroll and beholden to Pant for their jobs, seems to comprise the organization’s main beneficiaries?
    Background
    At first glance, reasons for the BDS’s scant effectiveness in achieving LGBTI rights could be multiple. There are indications that the organization wants for strategic vision and agenda, this being attributable to inadequate leadership and managerial skill. There is likelihood that BDS research and field workers are unqualified for their roles. It’s probable that there’s too often a mismatch between noble objects of donor-backed projects and grass-roots needs which a majority of Nepalese LGBTI people faces on a daily basis.
    Fingers also point to the corporate governance of the BDS, together with its underpinning culture which, contrasted with NGOs in the advanced democracies of the West, is characteristically autocratic, hierarchical, and secretive. In such an environment, it’s expected that harassment, abuse, falsification of data, financial manipulation and sham services will flourish. As with many a dysfunctional organization – be it entrepreneurial or eleemosynary – the cronyism and nepotism metastasizing within the BDS are ineradicable cancers.
    Pant, who’s unchallenged as the public face of the BDS, has successfully marketed Nepalese LGBTI people and causes abroad among writers, activists, journalists, and lawyers. Prey to a glamorous but superficial media charade of fabricated case stories, presumably spun from Pant’s pen, these generous and sincere international donors back the movement, gullibly believing that their largesse will enable delivery of positive societal outcomes.
    From my experience of the past year, the BDS has become wholly ambivalent to the oppression of gay, lesbian and bisexual people and now focuses its attention largely on the TG community, which the Indian subcontinent euphemistically calls the ‘third gender’. This is the face of same-sex engagement with which Nepalese in particular are traditionally comfortable, the notion being that a homosexual man is a woman who’s coffined in a male body. As it utterly defies modern scientific understanding of same-sex attraction to the point of denial, the concept of ‘third gender’ is not only farcical; it’s also one that I steadfastly refuse to recognize.
    The ‘Spice Girls’ and their ‘Panties’
    ‘Panties’ professes to be gay with a liking for silver-maned sugar-daddies from international donor agencies like DFID and UN AIDS. While presenting himself to the global press as Nepal’s first openly homosexual parliamentarian, he stops at nothing to keep his homosexual ‘daddy-son’ liaisons hidden from the gaze of the Nepalese public, for whom an unscientific world view still holds sway.
    Rumours abound among his gaggle of bisexual lovers that his political drive compensates for an underperformance on the mattress. So dependent is ‘Panties’ supposed to be on poppers and potions, the joke among his detractors is that the BDS is no more than a paper contrivance through which he can clandestinely exchange ‘blue diamonds’ for ‘blue pills’.

    Panties does not stop raving about the contribution of BDS towards Nepalese economy and provisions of jobs within LGBTIQ community in reality he spends more money on consultants friends and powerful network on the project related issues while completely disdains the struggles related to LGBTIQ people in the country.
    In my own associations with the BDS and Pant, I’ve hardly met any gay, lesbian or bisexual person but I’ve certainly seen trains of TGs approach BDS for various kinds of services. It was the case that the BDS organised a beauty contest for Nepalese TGs as a publicity stunt but, by not advertising the event nationally, Pant’s payroll puppets ensured that contestants were confined to BDS employees and their hangers-on.
    Many TGs who are on the BDS payroll are paid a monthly wage of US $40, which is scarcely enough to cover rent, let alone buy food and clothes. I was therefore unperturbed when one underpaid TG employee blatantly boasted that he/she frequently tricked from BDS headquarters and other public venues to support himself/herself.

    BDS has provided vocational training to certain of its staff in the fields of beautician, three-wheeler tempo driving, and basic frontline management. There’s no apparent evidence of providing entry-level employment skills to other LGBTI people. Given the paucity of professional qualifications, broad-based job-enriching experiences, and attested skill among current BDS employees, my personal summation is that none would win a post in any other NGO involved with human rights advocacy or public health promotion.

    In such an environment it’s those BDS employees who pander to Pant that are rewarded with promotion and appointments to better paid jobs. As it’s comprised of meaningless foreign material that’s mechanically translated into Nepali – with no cultural contextualization or tailoring to address local challenges, empowerment training he currently provides to his lackeys is yet another device in Pant’s propaganda toolbox by which he entices his foreign audience to loosen its purse-strings. Rather than generate enduring empowerment, the training will inevitably sabotage Nepal’s LGBTI human rights cause.
    Employees have claimed that, under Pant’s watch, the BDS introduced two sets of accounts, one set yielding a financial report for overseas donors’ benefit and the other for that of local employees. The donors’ report perpetuates the myth of the BDS’s commitment to social justice, as shown in the comparable salaries ostensibly paid to all staff members. The employees’ report reflects a totally different situation.
    Falsification of job and service related data
    Panties and his leadership became as savvy as many NGOs found in Nepal. Putting the mask of human rights activist and social reformer he is not only creating an unresolvable gap of knowledge of LGBTIQ and HIV/AIDS but also learned hoard enormous funding for his himself and his network from international agencies in the name of falsified document and number. In reality, it is all hoaxes. Panty knows that the beneficiaries of BDS service holders could not crossed checked due to “right to privacy”. Panty is cheating not only the national systems and laws for personal benefits (spending a lot of money to hire expensive heterosexual lawyers) but also humiliating and abusing their own beneficiaries (LGBTIQ people) from accessing service, verbal vilification, invisibility, negligence, exclusion from fair recruiting practice, over representation violence and abuse (especially by police) and HIV/AIDS people in LGBTIQ population. I personally challenge BDS to show authentic evidence 1000 people who went and took their service in KTM.
    Child Abuse Allegation
    Pant’s Jekyll-and-Hyde character surfaced when Nepalese TV news broadcast an allegation that he’d physically and psychologically abused an underage male domestic. As Pant was a sitting MP at the time, the news was of public interest. Despite repeated denials and attempts at its suppression, this particular allegation continues to dog Pant.
    The allegation was repeatedly aired on Nepalese TV news but was kept from Pant’s international donor network. If the veracity of the allegation were judicially tested, the child rights organisation that represented the victim holds sufficient evidence to confirm the incident.
    HIV/AIDS Prevention
    In the crucially pivotal area of HIV and STD prevention, the BDS does little to promote safe sex practice amongst LGBTI Nepalese. Workers engaged to distribute condoms and lubricants, as well as perform outreach education trick whilst on the job. BDS management is aware of this practice but does nothing to prevent it.
    In mobilising support for LGBTI rights across the nation, the BDS has had a woeful impact. Project and program evaluation is an anathema to BDS leadership. Tragically, while the LGBTI community has had only a handful of confirmed HIV/AIDS cases, those sufferers who are other than TG have been too embarrassed to approach the BDS for advice on treatment and support. The BDS has never explicitly refuted claims that it has actually processed only about 300 HIV sufferers instead of the published throughput of 5,000. There are allegations of the BDS providing HIV clinical and support services to heterosexual people (sometimes to the disadvantage of LGBTI sufferers) so as to conflate BDS statistics.
    By excluding stakeholder interests in BDS governance and resisting external scrutiny of organizational activities and finances, Pant’s intransigence has led the local reputation of the organization to irreversibly nosedive: in the eyes of local LGBTI people, the BDS is an object of ridicule, and its leadership, embodied as it is in Pant’s duplicitous personality, a laughingstock. Pant’s ‘my way or the highway!’ style of control, typifies corporate megalomania and organisational psychopath (who often cling on the position for financial benefits rather than making organisation grow as a credible and accountable one same time knows how to falsify testimonies towards donors to gain sympathy, knows how to disconnect from donors to other staff, very savvy to talk in languages to persuade his position and have sex drive which he conduct even at his office).
    Human Resource Management: Human resource of BDS as corrupt as it can get but knows how to make documents which hides the corruption. There are very few qualified members of LGBTIQ have been recruited in the organisation. It is mainly because Sunil might be challenged for his failed leadership and same time his organisational malpractice. Despite rampant corruption allegations aired constantly he is not willing to give up and reform its leadership to meet transparent leadership, ethical practice in HRS and budget management, good governance and inclusion. No one is interviewed for the position but ask them to sign the paper as they did. The technical positions are hired not on the match of qualification but the link with the donors and boards simply. Despite this corrupt practice, few good staff members have been a part of the BDS and them themself unable to change the leadership due to the fear of losing the position.

    Kathmandu’s LGBTI Games
    For some time, the BDS has advertised LGBTI games as a South Asian-wide event. Even though none pursues any kind of sport day-to-day, the BDS has sponsored several of its own employees as prospective competitors but failed to enable, engage, encourage or welcome other LGBTI sports people (especially those with natural sporting prowess or talent) to join the event. This is yet another strategy designed to impress donors and, at the same time, quarantine Nepal’s LGBTI people who aren’t on the BDS payroll.
    The reality will be that the games are a private event that’s depicted across the airwaves of the wider world, not only as a public one, but also as one which is inclusive of all LGBTI athletes and competitors from Nepal, as well as other Asian countries.
    Lesbians
    The BDS has never repudiated the allegation that a lesbian organization, Mitini Nepal, made concerning its plan to organize an event as part of the LGBTI games. In Mitini Nepal’s case, Pant is alleged to have blatantly rejected the plan for the laughable reason that lesbian competitors would ‘dishearten’ BDS employees.
    BDS indifference to the plight of Nepal’s lesbians is pitiless. In September 2012, a violated mother and self-identified lesbian, Rajani Sahi, endured indescribable trauma that also entailed multiple violations of universal human rights. Owing to widespread ignorance of human sexuality that prevails in Nepal, her extended family and caste community had Rajani forcibly restrained, institutionalised, medicated and deprived of liberty. Whereas the BDS ignored Rajani’s case, the Maiti Nepal organization came to her aid. This response aligns with what most international aid workers have long known: it’s a developing country’s most vulnerable women who often provide quality leadership in times of crisis.
    Another instance of the BDS’s appalling mistreatment of lesbians was recently shown when, in response to a sexual assault on a BDS lesbian worker by a senior female employee, the victim was dismissed because she sued the perpetrator. No action was apparently taken to eliminate future workplace sexual harassment within the BDS. Worse, the BDS provided no special protection or support to the victim. Recently one of the prominent member of BDS and a key person (Badri Pun) of board member has been sacked because she has been asking for transparency and accountability towards LGBTI community of Nepal. According to Badri Pun, She has been emotionally traumatised and pressured to get a third gender citizenship without understanding the real implications of having third gender identity in the country as well as internationally. The real question arise here is has Sunil acquired third gender identity himself? Probably not because he is a savvy communicator who has successfully enticed global LGBTI funders by their not because he leadership is credible just because he knows how to sell his ass to so called industrialised ass holes of the international aid business, the real culprits of the human rights who not only blatantly funded such organisation without scrutiny but also trying to suppress the LGBTI movement who are asking for transparency and accountability. Although these donors did try to meet the concern people or victims of BDS in reality these were act of showing teeth not the munching teeth.
    Suicide
    In many countries, the oppression of vulnerable LGBTI people leads to their suicide; Nepal is no exception and here the incidence appears to be rising. Although most of these deaths are reported as intoxication, cirrhosis of the liver and other alcohol-related abuse, the BDS has been spineless in investigating the extent of this trend and its underlying causes.
    Research
    Over the decade of its existence, the BDS has neither produced nor supported nor funded any independent systematic credible research into Nepal’s LGBTI communities. The BDS has no links to any Nepalese university or overseas research centre which specializes in gender studies or human rights. The view that’s widely shared among BDS critics is that the organisation’s leadership clique is paranoid over what shams, scams, and related racketeering independent researchers might expose. With no employment security or ethos of protected disclosure, the numerous BDS employees who fear Pant are terrified of retribution should they dare criticize his leadership.

    In televised presentations (especially on Nepal’s NTV ‘Pahichan’ – ‘identity’ – program), Pant has had ample opportunity to openly share struggles stemming from his own sexuality and has never done so. He avoids debate and discussion with notable local and global commentators and experts involved with the politics of sexuality and gender identity. With financial support from international activists, Pant has mounted a challenge in Nepal’s Supreme Court seeking removal of a range of civil disabilities under which the LGBTI population labours. The Court is still awaiting (and may wait yet for a long time) for the submission of population and other relevant data that confirm claims of inequality.

    This delay stems from Pant’s incompetence and inability to commission any credible project that would enable collection and analysis of the material that Court has predictably requested. As these data would need to include statistics pertaining to oppression suffered by lesbians and female-to-male TG people, Mitini Nepal would necessarily become involved, a prospect which Pant strenuously wants to avoid.
    The rampant practice of intimidation and bullying that’s become a byword for BDS management and operations has eroded the BDS ‘brand name’ to a point where it would destroy the credibility of any research or investigative report published under its auspices.
    This leadership of Sunil Babu Pant if not corrected will pulverised not only the organisation itself but also the burning activism of LGBTI people in this country. The leadership and contribution of Sunil Babu Pant towards LGBTI people is very trivial if analysed properly. He is merely a high class sex worker within international industrialised assholes who has skilfully directed his ass towards powerful people nationally and internationally to get the wealth and fame accordingly. The poor TG community who are supporting his leadership are merely scapegoats of his psychopathic nature to retain the position unconditionally forever.
    Appeal
    I earnestly request those in the media and civil societies to press the Nepalese Government to instigate a public inquiry into alleged abuses occurring in the BDS and lobby for urgently needed organizational reform (changing the leadership of panty and his ignorant board members who blatantly lick his arse for financial benefit with the position). For the donors, I request them to cross-check all the testimonies presented in the documentaries made by TV channels, news articles and radios. I am agreeable to discuss these issues and where possible verify allegations mentioned.

    In his failed leadership, LGBTIQ people have been more marginalized, excluded and discriminated than any other institution in Nepal. He vilified dignity of LGBTIQ people by running shameless project like “Third Genderisation” human trafficking related transgender prostitution on the street of Kathmandu. He has right to sell himself (homosexual chief organisation like DFID and other donors) but do not have rights to traffic human being and displace them in Kathmandu to struggle. He should be liable for this grave violation to Nepalese LGBTIQ. BDS has presented homosexual people Nepal as below equation

    LGBTIQ = Transgender = Sex workers

    There are a lot of LGBTIQ members in parliament, hospitals, courts, business, art, literature and academia who are well influential and respected same time married have children.
    For further information, see:
    · Khoj Khabar (search news, 14 August 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn4otTu_VDs
    · Khoj Khabar (search news, 15 August 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2FQXDoQQxI
    · Khoj Khabar (search news, 27 September 2012): Why so? Where is our right? — Nepal’s LGBT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmziIhz7j1I.
    · Khoj Khabar (search news, 24 December 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC-iswA0Jh8
    · Khoj Khabar (search news, 25 December 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcIN83_egFc
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
    Kedar Maharjan attained a bachelors degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a masters in International Public Health from Sydney University.
    In 2011, Kedar was awarded a European Union scholarship to complete Sydney’s innovative masters’ degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Asia and the Pacific. He’s Nepalese born and belongs to the country’s minority Newar community. Kedar has worked professionally for NGOs in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Katherine, Australia.
    YouTube – Videos from this email


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