Misappropriations Allegations Against SGM Organisations in Nepal: FPAN and BDS Controversy

Misappropriations Allegations Against SGM
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15 June 2024, Kathmandu

In a bid to lobby for illegalizing gender reassignment in Nepal, the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) held a discussion in Dhulikhel, Kavrepalanchok, in January 2022.

Participating senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi suggested that there is no legal system for gender reassignment and hormone therapy in Nepal. Instead, he pledged to help make the marriage equality law.

Misappropriations Allegations Against SGM Organisations

The National Statistics Office did not specifically count sexual and gender minorities (SGM) in the 2078 national census, promising to separately count data on the community for the current fiscal year, 2023/24. However, the count could not take place due to the inability to make an agreement with the Ministry of Finance, said the office’s deputy director, Dhundi Raj Lamichhane.

According to estimated data from the office, the number of citizens with “other” gender identities based on the household census is 2,928.

He, however, said that the Statistics Office plans to conduct a survey of the SGM community for the next FY, 2024–25. “Now let’s say that the community will be counted next year,” he said, “If donors provide money, we will set up a basket fund to conduct a survey.”

In preparations, stakeholders, including representatives from the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), the Federation of Sexual and Gender Minorities-Nepal (FSGMN), and Cruise Aid Nepal, held a meeting in Bhutan, but to no avail so far.

Shortly after the Dhulikhel meeting, the FPAN, in collusion with the BDS, FSGMN and Cruiseaids Nepal, operated a hormone clinic aimed at gender reassignment and hormone therapy. Now, it has faced a backlash for doing the “illegal” activity as members from other SGM organizations have been protesting it, warning the potential health effects associated with the treatments.

It has been revealed that these organizations have been running hormone clinics across the country, and promoting gender reassignment and hormone therapy with financial support of foreign donor agencies, including the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Notably, Cruiseaids Nepal has received grants through the Epic Nepal Project under USAID FHI 360 for Hormone Clinic, it has been reported.

Alleged misuse of foreign grant

An employee at Cruiseaids Nepal claimed that in 2022, USAID provided grants to operate a hormone clinic. “USAID provided financial support to operate the hormone clinic, but I don’t know where the grant was spent,” he said, requesting not to be named for security reasons.

These organizations have been accused of violating the principles of “conflict of interest” and lacking transparency. They are working on the same projects funded by the same donor agencies, and their members and staff are violating conflict of interest norms.

For instance, they have presidents and board members who work in parallel roles, participating in decision-making processes that, de facto, control all three entities.

This clearly breaches the conflict of interest principle, as they influence and execute the decisions that benefit only these leaders.

Examining the composition of these organizations reveals a small team controlling the majority of funding and mutually supporting each other. For instance, the BDS president, Sanjeev Gurung (Sheetal, Pinkey),, is a technical advisor of Cruiseaids Nepal, and the president of Cruiseaids Nepal is on the programmed team of BDS. Similarly, the BDS director is the president of the Federation (FSGMN), so on and so forth.

This close-knit group safeguards each other, and is adept at propaganda by planting stories and orchestrating meetings with donors and government representatives using misleading facts, often playing the victim card and vilifying good leaders from the community to serve their purpose.

They also threaten their junior staff and staff in the district with 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 organization. BDS retaliated by preventing her from participating in related programs, she said.

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

BDS President Gurung could not be reached for a comment.

For more Information: see Misappropriation Allegations Against SGM


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