Nepali LGBTI rights organisation the Blue Diamond Society has announced plans for Asia’s first LGBTI multi-sport event.

The Blue Diamond National Sport Competition 2012 was revealed at a ceremony last week which featured a symbolic handover from

the Australian Sport Outreach Program (ASOP), which delivers sports development grants.

While Asian athletes take part in the previously established Asia-Pacific Outgames, hosted by countries like Australia, this multi-sport gay event will be the first in Asia.

Blue Diamond will implement the program featuring volleyball, football, running, long jump, martial arts, and tennis, with plans for more over the two-week event.

“Renowned and respected Nepali athletes will support as coaches and referees for the program,” openly gay politician and games organiser Sunil Pant said.

“The aims for organising the Blue Diamond National Sport Competition 2012 are to mainstream LGBT people into the larger society, promote healthy lifestyles, encourage physical fitness, and promote health mentally and spiritually.”

Nepal is a regional and international leader on LGBTI rights and was acknowledged for its work in this area by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her Human Rights Day speech last year.

An important aspect of Blue Diamond’s work over the past 11 years has been partnering with local and international NGOs, INGOs, and programs in Nepal.

“Engaging with the Australian mission and local sports leaders demonstrates how LGBTI rights and participation issues are mainstream issues in Nepal and around the world,” Pant said.

“The partnership between Nepal and Australia is strong. Earlier this year, Australia made headlines by adding a third category for gender on passports for individuals who are transgender or do not identify as male or female.

“Since a landmark 2007 Supreme Court decision, Nepal has had a similar law on the books. The case of Australia provides compelling evidence that Nepal’s laws are progressive and leading the way for third-gender rights.”

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