Celebrating Pride Month at Coffee at Anu Books: A Journey of Acceptance and Empowerment

Peace Bhumi, a community of practitioners in Conflict Sensitive media production, celebrated Pride Month by honoring the Queer community. This event, held at the creative reading space of Coffee at Anu Books, was a powerful act of solidarity with the LGBTQIAP+ community as part of the global Pride Month celebrations. The intimate and emotional gathering saw members of the Queer community sharing their stories of struggle and triumph, highlighting Nepal’s progress in LGBTQIAP+ rights through legal means.

This year marked the third annual program organized by Coffee at Anu Books, dedicated to raising awareness and embracing the Queer community as part of the broader community-building process. The event aims to establish Coffee at Anu Books as a global community hub, fostering inclusivity and acceptance.

The vibrant participation of the LGBTQIAP+ community, along with members from Peace Bhumi, representatives from various educational institutions, and youth groups, added depth to the discussions on inclusivity in public, social, and political settings. Amir Thapa, a book curator at Coffee at Anu Books, facilitated an interactive session with representatives from LGBTQIAP+ organizations, including Unity for Change and NAAMS.

Stories of Courage and Acceptance

One of the highlights was the heartfelt story of Samon, a transgender man from a rural village in Palpa. Growing up, Samon felt different, often preferring male roles in childhood games. As a teenager, he realized his attraction to girls, leading to confusion and rejection from friends. However, Samon’s journey took a positive turn when his father, a government school teacher, recognized his unique behavior and offered unwavering support.

With his father’s acceptance, Samon moved to Kathmandu for higher education, where he embraced his identity as a transgender man. Despite societal challenges, Samon proudly lives his truth and is pursuing a law degree to advocate for the LGBTQIAP+ community. His story is a testament to the power of family support and acceptance.

San Rai, another transgender man, shared his story of struggle and resilience. Although he chose not to reveal personal details, San emphasized the importance of protecting children from sexual predators, including those within the family. Currently working for a social cause to help people with HIV in Kathmandu, San has yet to come out to his parents in rural Nepal.

Advocacy and Representation

The conversation extended to legal issues, the Nepali census, and the ongoing misrepresentation of the LGBTQIAP+ population within census data. Representatives from various organizations called for proper identity recognition and policy frameworks for different segments of the Queer community, advocating against a one-size-fits-all approach.

The program also featured a documentary screening, “StoneWall Fever,” showcasing the past, present, and future of the Queer community. Coffee at Anu Books, in partnership with Peace Bhumi, has participated in Pride Parades worldwide, continually striving to create a safe and celebratory space for the Queer community.

Embracing Diversity and Building Community

This celebration of Pride Month at Coffee at Anu Books highlights the importance of community support, acceptance, and advocacy. By sharing stories and creating inclusive spaces, the event fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment for the LGBTQIAP+ community. As Nepal continues to make strides in LGBTQIAP+ rights, events like these remind us of the significance of embracing diversity and working towards a more inclusive society.

The efforts of Peace Bhumi and Coffee at Anu Books in promoting Queer acceptance and inclusivity are commendable, paving the way for a more understanding and supportive community. By celebrating diversity and creating safe spaces, we can all contribute to a world where everyone is free to live and love authentically.

Garima Bikas

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