In Nepal, the Gaijatra Festival has taken on a significant role as a platform for celebrating the diverse identities within the sexual and gender minority communities. Often referred to as the country’s original ‘Pride Parade’ or ‘Gourav Yatra’, this festival has been observed annually since 2004.
The festival serves as a poignant occasion for honoring the memory of individuals from the sexual and gender minority communities who have suffered due to societal stigmas and discrimination. Through candle lighting ceremonies and moments of remembrance, the community pays their respects to those who have passed away.
However, the Gaijatra Festival is more than just a somber event—it is a vibrant celebration of cultural and gender identities. Participants from the transgender, transsexual, and gender-diverse segments of society come together to proudly display their unique identities through creative costumes and clothing that reflect their cultural heritage and gender expression.
The festival is also a platform for advocacy, giving voice to the rights and concerns of the sexual and gender minority communities. Organizations dedicated to this cause, as well as rights activists, orchestrate a variety of engaging activities on this day. These include the Gaurav Yatra (Pride Parade), lively performances encompassing songs, music, and drama, and the symbolic act of lighting lamps to illuminate the path towards equality and acceptance.
The Gaijatra Festival has evolved into a momentous occasion that encapsulates both celebration and advocacy, fostering a sense of pride and unity among Nepal’s sexual and gender minority communities.