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Nepal opens first gay and HIV+ shelter

Earlier this week, we pointed out that the tiny South Asian republic of Nepal has been making major leaps forward in the legal rights of its gay and lesbian citizens. Following its Supreme Court order in 2008, it may even become the first Asian country to allow same-sex marriage, and the first to write legal protections for sexual minorities into its still-being-drafted constitution.

Unfortunately, gays and lesbians still face discrimination in the country, where sexual subjects remain taboo. Helping to bridge that divide for queer Nepalis is a new shelter and hospice that’s become the country’s first refuge for gays and lesbians who have been ostracized from their families. While it’s unfortunate that there’s still a need for such a home, it’s a positive development that’s improving the lives of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens. The shelter and hospice is run by Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society, the national organization for gays and lesbians.

Speaking of shelter for queer people, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed complaints with the Department of Homeland Security that queer immigrants held in detention centres face increased risks of physical violence, deprivation of medical treatment and solitary confinement. The US immigration and refugee system is even more fucked up than our own, as the article in the Arizona Republic seems to indicate in the case of Monica Catalan, a transgender Mexican immigrant who was denied asylum even though the judge refused to deport her to Mexico over fears for her safety. She’s now in stuck in a legal limbo.

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