According to VOWMedia Nepal, there have been 875 suicide deaths during lockdown in Nepal as of May 31st 2020. The LGBTIQ+ community has also been deeply affected by the lockdown. This week transman Manish Yadav was found dead at his home in Saptari. Friends and colleagues are shocked by the loss of Manish. The twenty-eight year old has a unique story that trails back to his time with the maoists. He was expelled from the maoist army along with his girlfriend in 2006. The couple went onto get married and later had a baby daughter through IVF. Their marriage is not legally recognized in Nepal and they have been struggling to acquire a birth certificate for their daughter since 2017.
Former colleagues and friends believe that Yadav’s struggle to get the needed documents and rights for his family for many years added with the struggle of living in a conservative society during lockdown may have impacted his mental health. Along with Yadav, it has been reported that there have been three other suicides from the wider LGBTIQ community across Nepal.
To read about Yadav’s death on the news and through his friends on Facebook is very saddening. It makes me angry to learn how the state and the system failed him. Along with Yadav, the system continues to fail the queer community in Nepal. Poor mental health will affect many across the country but I worry more about the LGBTIQ+ community who maybe struggling with their gender identity or sexual orientation; who fear going back into the closet and being isolated in their own homes and the many who are struggling to make ends meet without daily income or sudden barriers to their medications.
This Pride month, we need to remember the friends who we have lost and make active efforts to be there for the many scattered across the country. The dialogue that many queer organisations are taking forward to the government needs to be closely followed by more people (queers and allies). Like many things in our country, we need to challenge thoughts in society and continue to demand for progressive policies.
We need to continue this fight for Manish. May his soul be in peace.
Nepali Gauri has written a heartfelt long post on Manish Yadav on Facebook: