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Nepal’s Mt. Everest Vies To Attract Gay Weddings and Tourism

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In 2006 Nepal’s King Gyanendra was forced from his throne by a democratic uprising. Since then the new parliament has begun working on a same-sex marriage law, which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of back in 2008. The law, expected to be in place by May 28, would safeguard the rights of sexual minorities, making it the first nation in Asia to do so.

This legislation comes as a surprise to Nepal’s neighbors, because as little as two years ago under King Gyanendra's iron-fisted rule, homosexuals could be arrested and sentenced to up to two years in jail, and were often beaten and persecuted by local police forces. 

When the new law goes into effect, Nepal will be the first country in the region to sanction and approve gay marriages.

In the light of this new development, Tourism Minister Sharat Singh Bhandari has decided to tap into a resource worth tens of millions of dollars, but ignored by the majority of nations worldwide — gay tourists. Homosexual couples are considered to be one of the most able-to-leave-on-a-whim and free-spending segments of the lucrative and profit-hungry travel/vacation market today, but are shunned for religious/moral reasons in most of the traditionally favored “family” travel destinations. Nepal, however, plans to employ a temptation that most other tourist traps can’t match: an officially recognized gay wedding on the world’s loftiest peak — Mt. Everest!

Travel packages custom designed for gay couples also include special hotel rates and even elephant safaris for same-sex honeymooners.

In a move sure to have bigots renaming the famous peak Brokeback Mountain after the renowned movie, the Tourism Ministry of Nepal has already begun courting American gay couples. A few months ago in a pre-emptive strike, Bhandari sent an invitation to the International Conference on Gay & Lesbian Tourism in Boston Massachusetts, which read, “As the world knows, Nepal is the land of Mount Everest, world’s highest peak and the birth place of Lord Buddha, light of Asia. I, therefore, would like to take this opportunity to invite and welcome all the sexual and gender minorities from around the world.”

The invitation was sent in light of Nepal’s anticipated hosting of the first official Asian Symposium on Gay & Lesbian Tourism in Kathmandu, to take place this June.

Bhandari added, “We’re completely changing this country. It’s a newborn republic — and we want to showcase this change. We also want to re-establish tourism as a major industry.”

The Tourism Ministry’s goal is to attract over a million visitors to the Himalayan nation in 2011… and this just might do it.

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About Jet Gardner

I like collecting books, music, movies, chess sets and friends
  • Jet Gardner

    So which of you is going to go with me?

  • Jon Sobel

    Awesome! I was at a gay wedding in Connecticut recently. Nice, but a lot less dramatic.

  • Jeff Forsythe

    I’m calling my travel agent right now! Nice piece Jet!

  • Jet Gardner

    Hey Jeff, let me know if the airlines are offering couples deals

  • Silas Kain

    Kind of brings new meaning to him-a-lay-ya. I think it’s a brilliant move for Nepal’s tourism since gays have plenty of disposable cash and might as well spend it in places where they are welcome. I’ll bet plenty of so-called right-wingers would be jetting off to Nepal under cover.

  • Jet Gardner

    Silas, considering how pissed we are at California for Prop 8, maybe we should teach them a lesson about the consequences of biting the hands that feed them by vacationing in Nepal instead of San Fran”crisco”

  • Gordon Ford

    Great write up! It seems surprising to me though because of Nepal’s traditional nature. I think it’s going to be great for the country and the tourists visiting. The poeple are amazing and very friendly. Hopefully, the tourism dollars that this would raise would go a long way to building some much needed infrastructure. Enjoy your trips anyway! :)

  • Jet Gardner

    #6 Of course there’s always the Hawaiian island of Commonowannalaya

  • Jet Gardner

    Thanks Gordon

  • Jet Gardner

    Just when I thought Australia was more sophisticated and tolerant than the U.S. I read this little item about a bigot thinking that a seeing eye dog was… Gay????????

    An Aussie waiter overheard a man’s female companion that he was bring in a gay dog. Actually she said her blind friend was bring in a GUIDE dog. The gigot actually refused the man entry into the resturant-which was subsequently sued…

    Both the blind and homosexuals experience discrimination all over the world, but I’m sure that the blind man never dreamed that he would be discriminated against because a waiter thought that his seeing-eye dog was gay.

    No sane person would worry about the sexual preferences of a dog, but homophobia makes persons act incredibly stupid.

    Did the waiter fear that the dog would bark with a lisp, and sashay from table to table trying to make friends with all the cute guys in the restaurant?

    This incident seems like a Saturday Night Live skit, it’s so sad that in real life there are so many homophobic idiots.

    A court ordered the owners of the restaurant to pay Jolly $1,400, and to issue him an apology.

    The waiter should visit the Wizard of Oz, he needs a new brain and a new heart.

    Robert Paul Reyes is a NewsBlaze writer

  • Jet Gardner

    Never try to type a comment while on Percocet for pain. It’s generic Oxycodin is probably an explanation for Rush Limbaugh.

  • STM

    Jet: The restaurant owners were Vietnamese migrants (owning a Thai restaurant, believe it or not), is my understanding.

    The lady with the blind man who wanted to dine there said they had a “guide dog”, and the restaurant owners claim they thought she said they had a “gay dog” … a canine that had somehow become “gay”.

    They are not fluent English speakers but I still don’t buy it. It sounds to me like it an attempt at a very weird excuse for not letting someone with a guide dog in to the restaurant.

    Perhaps they thought if they said they believed the dog was gay then everyone would think that was OK. I don’t know. Maybe they thought the dog actually was gay. Who the fuck knows?? The people kept pointing to a sign in the window that said “guide dogs welcome”, to no avail.

    The restaurant owners were fined under the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

    It got a fair bit of press here because it’s so bizarre.

  • Jet Gardner

    Who knows Stan, maybe they wanted to EAT the dog and food is only allowed thorugh the kitchen entrance?

  • STM

    It was a waiter in the restaurant, apparently, who refused them service with the alleged “gay dog”. I still don’t buy the excuse though. I almost bet London to a brick that whoever refused them service simply didn’t want a dog in the joint, and if they were new-Australians, possibly didn’t understand the law: not only can you not discirminate against guide dogs, you also can’t discriminate against gays … canine or not.

    It really sounds to me like they knew they were going to get into strife after the ice-cream hit the fan and the complaints started flying, and went, “OK, what can we say … ah, I know, we’ll say we thought it was a gay dog, not a guide dog. Lost in translation – perfect”.

    The truth is, many people from Asian have a different idea about dogs than we do. They simply don’t have the same affinity with them, and if you’ve been to Asia and seen some of the poor the mangy strays on the streets, you’ll understand why.

    A lot of Arabs are the same: and muslims, particularly, are OK with cats but find dogs offensive. They’re forbidden by the koran to keep dogs, unless the dogs have a job … ie, working dogs.

    The guide dog qualifies big time, but we have also had many instances here of new-Australian cab drivers refusing to take guide dogs in their taxis because they believe that dogs are dirty animals and that it is offensive to their religious beliefs.

    My suggestion to them: don’t drive a cab in case you are required to follow the letter of the law and do something that offends your religion. Of course, this thing bites both ways, if you’ll pardon the pun.

    Some of the canine-offended cabbies have suggested the law is discriminatory because it discriminates against them on the basis of their religion.

    Because, you know, forget about rule of law and democracy that began to take seed 2000 years ago and gives us the type of country that everyone – including those offended folk – wants to come to. What we really need is a separate application of sharia law!

    So there you go …

  • Jet Gardner

    Ah, so it was a publicity stunt formulated by idiotic bigots.-Sounds like a dunking booth full of box jellies is appropriate?

  • STM

    No, I think they didn’t understand the law (that they have to serve) and when the trouble started, they tried to come up with an excuse. “Aaah, I know, we’ll say it was lost in translation and tell everyone we thought they said GAY dog, not GUIDE dog …”

  • Ruvy

    Well, Jet,

    I finally found your gay safaris reference. Evidently, the gay tourists smoke the Camels while atop the elephants – and are damned careful with embers and the ashes….

  • Jet Gardner

    Mr. Forsythe and Ruvy are in danger of becoming another Roger and Cindy RUN FOR THE HILLS!

  • Jeff Forsythe

    I hsrdly think so. Sorry by the way about posting the last on the wrong thread, but since they are by the same author I do hope it is a forgivable error?

    Mr. Forsythe

  • Jet Gardner

    I’m getting dizzy

  • Jeff Forsythe

    I visited Everest once. I suppose I was blinded by its majestic beauty because after I returned home I noticed that most of my captured images contained tourist litter scattered about in the periphery of the shots.

    I do hope they clean that up before the camps arrive or there will be hell to pay!

    Mr. Forsythe~Utopian Liberal

  • Jet Gardner

    Stan, if you’re there can you help me understand this David Campbell story. this is the first time I’ve felt sorry for a straight politician after he was caught at a gay bar.

    His story seems to have a twist because he wasn’t anti-gay… just in the closet and hiding behind a wife and kids.

    I don’t think Channel 7 should’ve “outed’ him if that’s the case… everyone’s entitled to their privacy. I only get pissed when they’re campaigning loudly, arogantly and in public against gay rights but are in the closet-but the impression is that that wasn’t the case here.

    Now if your AFL’s Jason Akermanis and his big mouth were exposed that’d be another matter altogether.

  • Jet Gardner

    I don’t know about you Bob, but I think I’d rather brag that I was married on Mt. Everest than some beach off the coast of Florida

    Anyone can do that, and right now Florida isn’t all that friendly to gays in terms of weddings, adoption or even rights in the work place…

  • Everest

    Nepal is a brilliant place. Well worth a visit to Everst base camp

  • Jet Gardner

    A place where dreams are made of too…