Book

Pride Climbing Higher:
Nepal’s sexual and gender minorities share their experiences in a newly published anthologyNepal is currently at a pivotal moment with respect to the state’s and society’s attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities. A seemingly groundbreaking 2007 Supreme Court decision was the first ruling in South Asia to guarantee non-discrimination and equal rights. As a result, Nepal has often been lauded as South Asia’s leader regarding the legal progress of sexual and gender minorities. However, the past several years have revealed that Nepal’s reputation has perhaps preceded more widespread acceptance: arbitrary arrests have increased under the guise of “public indecency,” Kathmandu’s largest cruising area has been shut down, Nepal’s largest LGBTI organization, The Blue Diamond Society, almost had its registration revoked in 2013, LGBT candidates from the major political parties were dropped as days before the 2013 elections, and, perhaps most alarming, the Ministry of Law and Justice has drafted a new criminal code that will recriminalize any non-vaginal penetrative sex.

While awareness of sexual and gender minorities in Nepal has grown, awareness does not necessarily translate into acceptance just as legal reform does not always result in social change. In the wake of such sweeping legal rulings, it is easy to forget that progress is not linear and progress in one arena does not necessarily lead to change elsewhere. It seems important therefore that more and more Nepali sexual and gender minorities are empowered to speak about their own experiences of Nepali society and given the tools and medium within which to do so.

To this extent, we would like to introduce you to a new collection of autobiographical stories, titled Pride Climbing Higher, written by twelve variously identified individuals from Nepal. These stories form a mosaic of very short memoirs from first time authors: a lesbian teenager attempting suicide with her lover after they are forced apart; a transgender woman traces her career as a model in the fashion industry; a gay man narrates his migration from a rural village in Nepal to the capital city of Kathmandu; a transgender man marries his girlfriend in a triumphant family ceremony after convincing his relatives to accept his gender identity. Rather than seek to provide a singular narrative or a “complete” picture of life in Nepal, Pride Climbing Higher explores the significance and diversity in people’s experiences with respect to the achievements of sexual and gender minorities in Nepal and the discrimination and hardship many still experience on a daily basis.

Pride Climbing Higher is currently available in hard copy in Nepal and America upon request and in select outlets – please contact Chad Frisbie at chadfrisbie@gmail.com if you are interested in a hard copy.

These stories were written during a creative-writing, education project that took place in Kathmandu in 2013. Participants worked one-on-one with a gay, creative writing instructor, Chad Frisbie, to learn various methods of crafting autobiographical stories. They were given the freedom to write about any topic or anecdote they felt was important to express. In sharing their often incredibly personal histories, the writers were able to explore urgent topics such as the difficulty of dealing with their society’s and family’s pressure to marry, the risks of HIV both at home and abroad, and the lack of awareness around sexual identities and sexual assault. We hope that you enjoy reading them as much as we have producing this collection.

Please feel free to contact Chad Frisbie at chadfrisbie@gmail.com if you have any further questions.

To download a soft copy of Pride Climbing Higher, please click here.