Executive Director, Blue Diamond Society (BDS)
Shivanandan Khan is my great inspiration for my life, in my activism and for our organizational growth. In 2002, our founder president Mr Sunil Babu Pant invited Shiv to Nepal. At that time, we were very few community members who joined the Blue Diamond Society and we all were very new, we just started our movement in Nepal. He came to BDS’s office and conducted training on “Sex, Gender, Sexualities, Masculinities” between June 7-13, 2002. He encouraged us to be strong people and to speak up without fear and hesitation. That learning from him was my first learning on HIV and AIDS, human rights and Sex, Gender Sexuality and it contributed to building my capacity to be an activist until now.
In the same year, he facilitated the National Consultation Meeting in Nepal; a huge gathering of community people in Kathmandu, for the first time. Later on in 2006, he visited our grassroot level CBOs to support their organizational capacity building. In 2006, Shiv invited me and other members of Blue Diamond Society to the “Risk & Responsibility” Conference in New Delhi in 2006, where I got the opportunity to meet our community members from other countries in our region for the first time. Here the concept of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) was initiated in the Risks & Responsibility Conference, and I am lucky that I became one of the founding members of APTN.
Later on Shiv visited Nepal a couple of times in different meetings to support and raise the voices of the local MSM and transgender communities as many stakeholders were reluctant to fund and provide opportunities to MSM and transgender communities. He fought for us and fought for our funding opportunity. He also invited me to his office for a 10 days long training on ‘Skills Building, Knowledge Development & Training on Trainers Course working with MSM & Sexual Health’ by NAZ Foundation International in December 2007 and I received an award from him for my best contribution in the training. I kept this award in our office meeting hall.
For me, Shiva is an inspiration, motivation, trainer, friend, supporter, resources, fighter, initiator and the voices of the community. I am remembering him on the 10th year of his departure and when I see myself, my activism, our activism, our organization, our networks – Shiv is always there.
I recommend to increase visibility of the activists from the Global South, South, South-east and East Asia and give them the opportunity to speak in the panel discussion. In addition, I recommend for more members from the Government from this region to be a member of ERC. For this purpose, I see the support from ERC member countries and community members.
About the contributor:
Manisha Dhakal is transgender woman with pronoun she/her. She is an LGBTIQ rights activist from Nepal. Manisha has been involved in Nepal’s LGBTI rights movement since 2001 through different projects including HIV/AIDS, human rights activism, constitutional campaigns, advocacy and capacity building, academic research, LGBTI child rights. She was the first trans woman working with the Nepal Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund.
Manisha is currently the Executive Director of the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s pioneer LGBTIQ rights organization & president of the Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities of Nepal.
Regionally, Manisha is one of the founding members of the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network. She was one of the former Co-Chairs of the ILGA Asia Board. She is also a board member of IRGT (Innovative Response Globally for Transgender Women and HIV).
She was awarded the “Nai Ram Laxmi” in 2010 and the “Janasewa Shree 5th”, two national awards from the Nepal Government for her contributions to the LGBTI movement in Nepal. On 21 December 2007, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a landmark verdict directing the government to enact laws enabling equal rights to LGBT citizens. Manisha was involved in court pleadings on this case on behalf of LGBTI people before the Supreme Court.
Manisha possesses a master’s degree in finance from Shanker Dev Collage, Kathmandu.
Here are some of the tributes in Shiv’s memory.
Joey Joleen Mataele
Sunil Babu Pant
J V R Prasada Rao