Marriage equality in Bangladesh

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Last month, the United States Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states of the Union, and the District of Columbia, adding the United States to the list of nearly two dozen countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas, that recognize marriage between a man and a man, and between a woman and a woman. The decision, which is nothing short of historic, made waves around the globe, including in Bangladesh, and is a cause for celebration for everybody who believes in equal human dignity. Continue reading →

Bangladesh’s LGBT Community and the UPR 2013

“Ever since I was in first grade, I was teased by my classmates for my girlish behavior. Back then, I didn’t even know I was gay; and being called gay was quite offending. I used to get teased, bullied and even took a few hits for my ‘inappropriate’ behavior. Continue reading →

What You Should Know About Homosexuality

Amra Chhilam. Amra Achhi. Amra Thakbo.

What is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex. However, sexual orientation is usually discussed in terms of three categories: heterosexual (having attractions to members of the other sex), gay/lesbian (men attracted to men/women attracted to women), and bisexual (men or women attracted to both sexes). Continue reading →

Bangladesh’s invisible minority

Babu and Arif have been friends from childhood. They went to school together, played on the same cricket team and had no secrets – except one, but only until recently. While they were out having phuchkas at a street stand somewhere in Dhaka, Arif suddenly slipped into an awkward silence for a couple of seconds. Continue reading →

British Empire’s homophobic legacy eroding in South Asia

Great empires may come and go, but like the tides, they leave behind a tangled assortment of flotsam and jetsam. In the case of the British Empire, that included much that one might admire, but also a British Protestant morality that was codified in laws that persist to this day. Section 377 of the colonial Penal Code is a striking example. It classed consensual oral and anal sex as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and made it a crime punishable with imprisonment for life. When the British administrators withdrew, they took their soldiers, but left their law books behind. Section 377 was recently repealed in India, but it is still very much on the books in Bangladesh. Continue reading →