On the evening of January 21, when Sanju was on her way home, she saw a commotion on a street near Gongabu Bus Park. A group of police was verbally and physically abusing a group of people, among whom were some of her friends.
“I rushed to see what was happening because I heard a lot of transphobic slurs used against my friends," says Sanju, a 23-year-old transgender woman, who wants to be identified by her first name only. "The situation got out of hand quickly and before we knew what was happening the police started beating up my friends. I ran to stop the police from beating up my friends.”
But when she tried to break apart the brawl, the police started beating her too, with their boots, sticks, and even their rifle's buttstock, she says.
“That day the police didn’t treat us like human beings. Even after the merciless beatings, they arrested us and kept us in custody for more than 25 days,” says Sanju, who had to get six stitches on her head from the injuries she sustained at the hands of the police.
To the world, Nepal is often projected as a queer-friendly nation but what Sanju and her other friends experienced that day is just an example of the living realities of how transgender people are treated in the country.
From not getting their right to get citizenship as per one’s choosing of gender identity to the constant harassment and abuses that one has to face on a daily basis, Nepal, as a country, still has not been able to guarantee equal rights for its transgender population as well as provide a safe, secure and equal environment for them.
However, regardless of the struggle, many transgender activists have shown resilience and have been fighting against the injustices that have been laid against them as well as the whole queer community.
On the occasion of International Day of Transgender Visibility, the Post looks back on the events and issues involving trans people that took place last year, and how they shaped the trans movement and its future.