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NZ fund set up for lgbti people in Nepal

Tue 5 May 2015 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Blue Diamond Society members sheltering in a tent. Photo: Blue Diamond Society. A New Zealand appeal has been set up for those who want to help lgbti people in Nepal following the devastating quake. It’s been set up by human rights advocate Jack Byrne as a simpler way for people here to help out than having to transfer money overseas. The fundraiser has started with a good initial boost of $480 and the money raised will be donated in a lump sum each week. Make a donation here The money will go directly to the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), which Byrne says is family to thousands of sexual and gender minorities in Nepal. The organisation has been providing emergency support since the 7.9 magnitude earthquake. Its care and support hospice needs food for HIV positive people, and to provide emergency support services to metis, who identify as third gender. Current services are segregated for 'men' and for 'women' which can mean metis are unable to get rations or use toilets. The Society also needs to cover basic supplies, such as tents, clothes, blankets, umbrellas, water, food and medicine, plus fuel. In the longer term they want to meet other basic needs by providing housing and employment programmes for lgbti people in Nepal and will also need to repair their damaged office and care and support building. Among the New Zealanders who have already donated is Joey Macdonald, who says "I met some gorgeous people from the Blue Diamond Society when I was in Nepal and I think the support they provide to sexual and gender minorities over there is invaluable. “I'm donating to them because I know the people involved and have seen the kind of community support that they offer, which is real person-to-person survival stuff. My heart is heavy with sadness about all the of the Blue Diamond Society member who will be affected in so many ways by the earthquakes." New Zealander and Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) Asia Pacific representative Kevin Haunui went on a private mission to Nepal to meet the Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities Community Organisation in February 2014.   “The aim of the mission was to look at the prospect of Nepal as a potential host of the Glisa Asia Pacific Outgames; as a follow up to FSGMN's interest to host. There had been Nepali representation at the Asia Pacific Outgames in Wellington 2011 and participation in both the human rights forum and sports arena. The connections and bonds had thus been established.” Haunui met gay, lesbian and trans Nepali who worked in organisations like FSGMN and the Blue Diamond Society. “I saw and learnt about the networks they managed and maintained locally to advance their rights. I was also shown examples of how they provide pastoral care and support for those in their community who were destitute or isolated and marginalised such as the home for lgbt people with HIV. “I met and talked to people during the most ordinary situations through the daily brunch routine - people would leave offices around 9.30am to go to a local 'cafe', at birthday celebrations, at dinner, in the office. Throughout it all I was touched by their humility and hospitality; a willingness to share what they had, a desire to improve their life opportunities.” Haunui says the disaster in Nepal is an absolute tragedy and as the world rallies to help its citizens, he too wants to support them with a donation – one which he knows will go to disaster relief within the lgbti communities. “Lest we forget because they will be forgotten.”   The New Zealand appeal can be found here If you are outside New Zealand, you can donate to the International Gay    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 5th May 2015 - 3:12pm

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