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Mr. Gay Handsome Nepal Just Crowned Its 2017 Winner, Revealing the Country’s Pro-LGBTQ Politics

Yesterday, a man named Manindra Singh won the Mr. Gay Handsome Nepal 2017 competition held in the Rastriya Nachghar event space within the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. Singh was one of 16 contestants in the second outing for the male beauty pageant, an event meant to highlight gay male activists fighting for increased gay rights and awareness in Nepal.

Mr. Gay Handsome Nepal actually started back in 2013, but there was a four-year hiatus between its first and second competition. The event was started by the Blue Diamond Society, an organization established in 2001 that works “with local communities and on a national level with the mission to improve the sexual health, human rights and well being of sexual and gender minorities” including LGBTQ people.

In addition to wellness, counseling and sexual health services, The Blue Diamond Society also lobbies for policy changes, documents human rights violations and offers litigation services to abused or discriminated against victims and their families. They also run advocacy and media campaigns and offer income generation activities to poor LGBTQ individuals.

They estimate that they’ve helped over 350,000 LGBTQ Nepalese people since their founding.

Here is video from the Mr. Gay Handsome Nepal 2017 competition

Singh won a trophy and a cash prize of 50,000 Nepalese Rupees (approximately $487.50). First runner-up Birendra Chaudhary won 40,000 Nepalese Rupees (approximately $390.00) and the second runner-up won 30,000 Nepalese Rupees (approximately $292.50).

In 2007, Nepal decriminalized same-sex sexual encounters, allowed LGBTQ people to serve in the military and gave people the legal right to change their gender. In 2011, they began allowing a third gender option (designated as “O” for “other” on official government documents) and in 2015, they passed nationwide anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in employment, government and public accommodations.

The country has no law officially recognizing same-sex marriage, however a trans woman named Monika Shahi got legally married to a man earlier this year. The country also doesn’t offer adoption or surrogacy to same-sex couples or the right of gay and bi men to donate blood.

Featured image via Blue Diamond Society Facebook