Bhumika Shrestha

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Bridging the BarriersNepal

Bhumika Shrestha is a transgender woman who has been working as an activist since 2004 for the rights of LGBTI people in Nepal. She currently works at the Blue Diamond Society and served as the vice president of Sexual and Gender minorities Nepal. Bhumika was a Spokesperson in the Womens Commission to Inform Us, and worked on the "1145” helpline service. She was the winner of a transgender beauty pageant contest in 2007 and was included in Apolitical Gender Equality Top 100 and The Most Influential People in Global Policy in 2019. Bhumika was awarded the Government of Nepal's Public Service Shri Fifth Class 2018. Bhumika was the first person in the LGBTIQ community to travel with a passport including the (O) category.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Bridging the Barriers

Many of the Supreme Court’s decisions and policies regarding legal gender recognitions are progressive in Nepal. But these provisions are not always reflected in reality. Even now, transgender sex workers are harassed and beaten by police. Thus, this project set out to reduce police brutality against transgender sex workers. Bhumika visited four districts (Chitwan, Rupandehi , Kaski and Kathmandu districts of Nepal) and conducted four orientation classes on SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics) issues, transgender rights and human rights issues. The trainings were attended by 128 Nepal police officers, four people from the National Human Rights commission, six journalists and 38 community members. Through the training, participants were able to increase their knowledge on the issues of gender diverse people. Bhumika coordinated with local CBOs (community-based organizations) and the broader community, facilitate the orientation classes and supported the local community in sharing their own stories. In a testament to the effectiveness of this kind of outreach, members of the police force have reached out to Bhumika requesting additional training in the future. One transgender participant reflected that "there should be regular meetings/training like this in future” noting that ongoing engagement will continue to bring the issues of the community to the forefront.

"I will create sensitization on gender, gender identity and expression along with [a] human rights-based approach with [the] Nepal police, which [will] help to reduce police harassment against transgender people in Nepal" - Bhumika Shrestha

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Bhumika was a recipient of the U.S. Department of State's International Women of Courage Award, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

Bhumika's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "[Being recognized as one of the] International Women of Courage [in] 2022, gives me more responsibility to speak about violence against transgender people."

U.S. Communities Visited

Washington, DC; Orlando, FL

Country: Nepal 

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