Blue Diamond Society, Nepal's largest LGBT-organisation, recently organised an event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Speaking at the event, Minister Counsellor Håkon Gulbrandsen emphasised the importance of safeguarding LGBTI-rights constitutionally:
Homophobia and transphobia target all people who do not conform to sexual and gender roles of the majority – to express themselves and their opinions freely, and to have the rights recognised.
Same sex relationships are illegal in at least 77 countries around the world today. In seven of these countries, same sex acts are even punishable by death. In almost all countries, freedom to express their true gender identities – and to have them rightfully recognised by the state – is limited by transphobic laws and attitudes.
From the event organised by Blue Diamond Society.
Even in progressive countries, violence and discrimination against LGBT people still exist in the form of discriminatory laws, unfair treatment, negative social attitudes and even in everyday interactions with people we care about, and who care about us.
Nepal has made significant progress on the rights of the LGBTI community. The historical Supreme Court Decision in 2007 paved the way for citizenship in accordance with gender identity. Incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity into the education curriculum and allowing for a third gender category in passports are some of the progressive steps that Nepal has taken.
The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, marked on May 17, draws the attention of policy makers, opinion leaders, social movements, the media, and the public in general to these issues, and to promote a world of tolerance, respect and freedom regardless of people’s sexual orientations or gender identities.
Norway is pleased to support this event. We raise our voice against violence and oppression, and work to increase the rights of the LGBTI community worldwide. Therefore, May 17th is a day to promote freedom, diversity and acceptance.
May 17th is also the Constitution Day of Norway. This year, I can proudly say that we are celebrating the 200th year anniversary of the promulgation of the constitution. The Norwegian Constitution is the oldest in Europe, and the second oldest in the world, that is still in use. Key values such as freedom of expression and the separation of powers were at the heart of the Constitution when it was drawn up in 1814. It was a radical constitution, inspired by new political and social currents in Europe and America at the time. Since then, it has been amended several times to ensure equality, anti-discrimination and religious freedom.
Due to the progressive nature of the constitution, the rights of the LGBTI community have been safeguarded and given recognition in Norway. I hope that Nepal’s constitution, which is being drafted these days, also keeps these principles in mind so that the rights of the LGBTI community are safeguarded.
I wish you all the very best for the celebration.