LGBT Rights In Bangladesh: Will Anything Ever Change?

by Abdur Rahman

When it comes to LGBT rights in Bangladesh, the plight of the wider LGBT community, a constant and often violent conflict of interest can be observed. However ugly we think the the situation is on the surface, I assure you the more you dig through the mulch, the worse it gets.

There is a lot at stake here for both sides in this conflict, let me make that absolutely clear. For the LGBT community there is intense desire to enjoy the same rights as another human being does, attain national acceptance. For religion (or those who adhere to it) there is pride at stake (yes pride) of being perhaps the most dominant influence in the Indian sub continent’s (forget Bangladesh’s) history.

In the end perhaps it is no competition at all. Perhaps my efforts and for that matter the efforts of my peers are in vain here. For remember, we are not talking about rudimentary changes here. One must attempt a revolution, overthrow every single value that has been hardwired into him/her since birth, destroy and revamp one’s perspective, manner of approach towards things.

Sadly, religion contributes (both directly and indirectly) to about 99.99% of the abovementioned social attributes in a person, living within Bangladesh that is. It enforces itself upon us, whether we want it or not, for it is omnipresent in Bangladesh, much like the so-called Allah funnily enough.

Furthermore, to give you an idea of the odds stacked against the LGBT community I’d like to point towards Bangladesh’s now increasingly fundamentalist values. That in return has caused a spike in militant and terrorist activities in Bangladesh. Shockingly enough, there is a certain section of the population who (albeit secretly or unconsciously) endorse such atrocious groups and their activities.

The result? A country where members of the LGBT community, those supporting them like myself are treated like criminals. Everything from the Bangladesh Penal Code 377, radical behaviour towards liberal minded individuals, a very capricious and unreliable government has seen the struggle towards establishing LGBT rights hit a stumbling block before it even has the chance to gain momentum.

The solution you ask? Easy. If only people would get up tomorrow at the crack of dawn and gather around Shahbag square (a strategic choice given that Dhaka houses more than 60% of the entire population), the way they did as a nation united towards a common cause during the War Crime Trials.

Yes. If only they would gather around, bring with them every single Quran, Hadith, Bukhari or whatever nonsense mullahs and “emissaries of Allah” have them reading these days and burn them all. It would send a message across to the whole world that Bangladesh is ready. It is ready to take on the path of light, of wisdom, of humanity.

Alas, if only that was possible within the next 100 years…

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