Being LGBT+ in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is a country with a majority of Muslim population. Islam is the main religion along with Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism. Homosexuality is prohibited and punishable according to Islam and many other religions. The society has a very conservative and a hostile attitude towards homosexuality. The state law is against it too. There are law sections that can punish anyone for homosexuality by 10 years in prison or up to life in prison. In fact, Bangladesh voted in favour of death penalty for being gay. Therefore, the LGBTQ+ Community has no space in Bangladesh because neither the state nor the society accepts homosexuality.
This strange system made my life a living hell as I never could live with what I want. It was impossible to make people understand what I was feeling. The taboo exists in heart of the society. No one supports it to be gay. So, life became miserable as nothing can be compared with it. I was living with a severe pain and depression. I took an attempt to do a campaign to let people know of the LGBTQ+ rights. At the beginning, I talked with some students and then I tried to discuss to some of the young activists who were campaigning against war. But, I ended up being taken in a social justice system called ‘ Panchayet ’ or ‘ Shalish ‘. They took me there and accused me of making the young people driven in a wrong way. I was punished with holding my ear and standing up and sitting down in front of a lot of people. I was also punished with hitting with a stick called Betraghat. Nothing was so humiliating in my life than this. I still have nightmares about this horrible incident.
Bangladesh is a place where people have no rights for doing something that is not supported by the religion. The religious groups are so ferocious that people can be harmed, attacked or even be killed for being secular or against religion. So, it is like an attempt to step towards death to be vocal against any religious taboo. So, I could not go for any more campaign or activism because of the fear of persecution. There were moments I used to think about being engaged with human rights activities to put the light on the matter of LGBTQ+ Rights. But, people were so scared to do any such activity that they didn’t even think about it. Surprisingly, many activists were against the Gay community. There are a small group of homosexual people who are called ‘ Hijjra ‘ who have a pathetic , isolated and frustrating life that cannot be compared with nothing else in this world.
I knew some people who were gay and they had to live a very pathetic life like me and the Hijjra community. We were humiliated because of our body language. There were insults and humiliation for the colour of our clothes. Moreover, people used to humiliate and make fun at the shape of our clothes. Many of them used to laugh at our speaking and any of our things. Life could not be so hard in anywhere in the world like Bangladesh for being gay. We had to be quiet and discreet about our sexuality. Basically, I should say that we were bound to be discreet and hidden form being exposed as gays just because the safety and security of our lives. Fear of persecution or being attacked or punished never left us alone. It came as nightmares in every night. No one deserves this pathetic life. People should have the right to be as the want. People should have rights to be safe and sound.