Over the last few decades, Nepal has undergone tremendous changes, with the core social and political fabric that makes up the nation having been radically challenged by a violent civil war, the abolishment of Nepal’s monarchy and the rise of Maoism. In emerging from these events, the nation is in the process of reinventing itself, which has created an opportunity for legitimate LGBTI movements to make themselves visible.
Nepal is consistently ranked as one of the world’s poorest countries, and is seen as a conservative nation in that it traditionally has had a strong allegiance to its monarchy, religious and caste system, as well as exclusionary politics where rights for the marginalised have not even been considered. Despite this, in 2007, Nepal became one of the world’s first countries to implement a ‘third gender’ category to citizenship documents, paving the way for the greater inclusion and acceptance of sexual and gender minorities into general society.
The project ‘Tesrolinga’ (which is the word used to describe transgendered people in official documents) looks at the reality behind such progressive measures through following a group of third gender women, all of whom are members of Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society, the nations first, largest and by far the most influential LGBTI organisation. Each of the women lead very different lives; that of a sex worker, a jobseeker, a human rights activist, a fashion model, and a make-up artist. Tesrolinga looks at their experiences from childhood up the present day, and looks at their hopes and dreams for the future.
This is Nilam's story.