Asia Pacific Transgender Network Collaborating with Blue Diamond Society Hosted South Asia Transgender and Gender Diverse Activists Convention in Kathmandu, Nepal More than 40 trans and gender-diverse individuals came to represent their organizations at a transgender activists convention titled “Reimagining The Future: Trans and Gender Diverse Peoples Convening” in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Hosted by Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN), the convention was successfully held on 16-20 January 2023. Participants were invited from neighboring countries from India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, “we are the only organization in the Asia Pacific region hosting transgender and gender-diverse activists only spaces where communities can freely and openly express and be their authentic selves to share and discuss the state of trans rights. This is how we continue to build stronger movements within our context by encouraging and embracing cultural, political and identity diversity,” said Joe Wong, Executive Director of Asia Pacific Transgender Network, in one of his speeches.

To conduct this meaningful event, APTN is also collaborating with Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s leading and largest LGBT rights NGO, as the co-host of the event. In her speech, Manisha Dhakal, Executive Director of Blue Diamond Society, expressed her gratitude.

“Blue Diamond Society would like to thank APTN for trusting us to host this convention. It helps us to increase our capacity to host such kind of event in future,” said Manisha, “This convening helps us spotlight the real issues and challenges of transgender people, non-binary people and gender diverse people as there is a very minimum platform for South Asian transgender folks to gather and to discuss on our own safe space”. Torun Dramdal, the Ambassador of Norway to Nepal, attended the warm solidarity dinner where the activists attending the convention could have a special time to network and mingle with each other. “So much passion and enthusiasm tonight at trans and gender diverse peoples convening! Sexual and gender diversity exists in all countries and communities.

We are all born free and equal in dignity and rights,” said Torun, celebrating the event on her official Twitter account. This convening aimed to assess the state of the transgender movement in the South Asia region at large, including programmes, in-country initiatives and the state of human rights advocacy, and reimagine how the future of the transgender community should look like. It acts as a sharing platform for pressing transgender rights issues, particularly in areas such as access to healthcare, legal gender recognition, transgender migration in conflict areas and combating hate crimes & conversion therapy practices. These are big human rights issues that concern the life of the transgender community in Asia Pacific and are often dismissed by the general public. Avali Khare is a young queer activist from the YP Foundation India whose work focusing on transmasculine people or transgender men and has been recognized in multiple countries in the world. They attended conferences and fellowship programs in Stockholm, Croatia, and Thailand last year. As one of the participants attending the convention, Avali was excited to hear important insights from the discussion, “For me, yesterday’s break-out session on legal gender recognition was very helpful, as it not only introduced me to the legal processes that exist in other nations in South Asia, but it also supported me in thinking about the future of legal gender recognition work,” said Avali.

In this convening, trans and gender-diverse activists have found their home, especially for young and passionate activists like Avali, who is keen to have a cross-learning space about the movement, “finding transnational solidarities and a space to collectively learn and reflect was much needed, and I believe will contribute positively to my work back at home in India”.