Gay pride march in Kathmandu

A reveller in ethnic costume participates in a parade in Kathmandu August 25, 2010. In December 2007, Nepal's Supreme Court ordered the government to scrap laws that discriminate against gays. REUTERS/Shruti Shrestha

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Homosexuals and their supporters poured into the streets of Kathmandu on Wednesday to take part in what organisers said was the first international gay pride festival in Nepal.

The colourful procession, with a bedecked elephant and music-blaring floats, was timed to coincide with the local Gai Jatra festival.

Hundreds of homosexuals, dressed in vibrant colours, danced through city streets carrying banners appealing for an end to discrimination.

“Although we had organised small parades in the past, this is the first international pride festival in Nepal,” said Sunil Babu Pant, chief of gay rights group Blue Diamond Society.

Homosexuality is taboo in Nepal but the country of 29 million people is been seen as increasingly gay friendly over the last few years.

Same-sex wedding ceremonies and beauty contests have been organised for homosexuals.

“This pride parade indicates that this society is starting to change and to see that all members of the community deserve equal rights,” said Dominic Hannigan, an openly gay Ireland MP who took part in the parade.

The hour-long parade culminated with a candle-lit memorial in the ancient part of the city.

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