The South Asian nation of Nepal has held its first international pride parade in Kathmandu, which featured elephants and hundreds of participants.

Although Nepal has held eight previous Pride parades, this year’s was billed as an “International gay pride parade” and drew participants from across the region, including those from as far afield as Japan and Norway.

The parade included the country’s first openly gay parliamentarian Sunil Babu Panta, who is also the leader of the Nepalese LGBT rights group, the Blue Diamond Society.

“Thousands of gays die worldwide every year, some of natural causes, some due to AIDS/HIV and many due to violence. In Nepal, there were 10 known deaths last year. But no one remembers them. Our gay parade ends with a candle-light vigil in memory of those who died last year. This is about equality for all,” Panta told the Times of India.

Nepal’s first transgender politician, Bhumika Shrestha, and British ambassador, John Tucknott, also took part in the festive event.

Homosexuality was legalised in Nepal in 2007. In 2008, the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered the government to legalise same-sex marriage, which it is reportedly in the process of doing.

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