SGM community mourns Dhimal, hormone therapy debate continues

Enepalese Published on: June 16, 2024

Kathmandu, June 16: The sexual and gender minority (SGM) community of Nepal has paid their respect to a third gender Bipin Dhimal, who died on Thursday. Dhimal, who was reportedly taking hormone therapy and was battling various health issues including thyroid problem, died at KMC Hospital at the age of 30.

Dhimal identified herself as a woman. Her mortal remains were taken from Kathmandu to her home district, Jhapa, for last rites. People from various walks of life, including SGMs, paid tributes to her. Lead Nepal programme coordinator Numa Limbu (Chanchala) offered condolences by draping a rainbow flag over her body.

Many people from the community has praised her as a kind and cooperative person. “Farewell from today. Heartfelt tributes to Jhapali Bipin daughter. May your soul rest in heaven,” wrote Limbu on a social site.

Dhimal’s death has brought tears to the eyes of SGMs. Dhimal’s death has raised concerns about hormone therapy and gender reassignment.

Some SGM organisations, including the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), the Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities-Nepal (FSGMN) and Cruiseaids Nepal, have been accused of promoting gender reassignment and hormone therapy. But other organisations, including Mayako Pahichan Nepal, is against these treatments citing health risks and legal issues.

Hotinati, Dhimal’s close friend, requested that his death should not be linked with hormone therapy. “No matter what the organisations do, she always wanted to look like a woman,” he claimed, “It is not because of hormones that led to Bipin’s death. Associating her death with hormone therapy has sent a wrong message.”

Other friends however claimed that she used to take hormone therapy that Hotinati did not know.

“I had seen her taking hormone medication but not regularly, even secretly buying them on the black market, maybe she didn’t tell Hotinati,” claimed one of her friends requesting anonymity for security reason. She was even planning a gender reassignment surgery, he added.

According to her chat history received by Pahichan, Dhimal had chats with her friends in which she shared about her taking hormone therapy just to look pretty.

However, BDS has refuted any link between Dhimal’s death and hormone therapy, calling the accusation “baseless”.

The organisation even scolded Pahichan for spreading “misinformation”. BDS president Sanjeev Gurung (Sheetal, Pinky) termed the link between Dhimal’s death and hormone therapy “baseless”, inciting negative comments.

These organisations are reportedly involved in promoting gender reassignment and hormone therapy, claiming that these procedures would reduce discrimination and stigma.

They have launched a campaign to legalise these treatments, which are illegal under the constitution of Nepal. “First they incite people to eat, then they call it a problem and get funds from donors,” said a member of the community, “they don’t care if someone lives or dies.”

They have also been accused of violating the principles of “Conflict of Interest” and lacking transparency.

They also threaten their junior staff and staff in the district of snatching away their jobs if they say anything against them.

Notably, Monika Shahi, a rights activist for the third gender, was reportedly removed as an employee at BDS when she demanded transparency and democratic procedures in selecting the leadership within the organisation. BDS retaliated by preventing her from participating in related programmes, she said.

Another member of the community claimed that these SGM organisations in question have been misappropriating millions in foreign donations in the name of the SGM rights.

Similarly, Parashuram Rai, who left his job as a teacher at Budanilkanth School and worked at the BDS, was fired after he raised the issue of transparency within the organisation.

Meanwhile, the issue of gender reassignment and hormone therapy has drawn the attention of Nepal’s parliamentarians.

During a meeting of the House of Representatives recently, they have urged the government to take necessary steps in stopping the “illegal” practice of gender reassignment and hormone therapy due to potential health risks.