An Analysis of Homosexuality in Bangladesh

by ASHOK DEB

Bangladesh is perceived to be one of the few Islamic states which exercises considerable tolerance towards the issue of homosexuality.The instances of utilising Governmental instruments for persecuting Homosexuals is rare. But practising homosexuality is strictly prohibited by the law under Section 377 A of the CrPC (Criminal Penal Code).The law says- “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine.”

Moazzam Husain a notable lawyer of the Supreme Court in Bangladesh opined that penetration itself is sufficient to constitute “carnal intercourse” described in the law.Homosexuality is considered as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and hence the practicers are liable to prosecution on grounds of their sexuality alone.Here the private morality of the two consenting individuals is considered redundant and immaterial.He stated “Where sexual behaviour offending against natural order is an offence, consent is immaterial. In case of sexual behaviour contemplated in Section 377 of the Penal Code question of ‘consenting adults’, to my mind, is of no avail. There is no, at least I have not come across any, decision of the Supreme Court on this point.”(DailyStar 5th October 2004)

It is unfortunate that homosexuality,a practice so harmless and personal in practice,have been criminalised in our country. People involved with gay issues have estimated about 5 to 10 percent of the population as homosexual.That would mean a sizeable population prefer same sex relationships.However no serious discussions take place on this subject even within progressive circles as Homosexuality is grossly equated as Perversion.The threat of HIV/AIDS looms heavily over the Bangladeshi gays and male sex workers as very few of them have access to the safe sex concepts.The country’s Criminal Penal Code decrees sodomy or its advocacy as a crime punishable by the law. The Sodomy Act of Article 377 A is more or less utilised to create a fear psychosis,which prohibits the homosexuals from coming out or demand legalisation of same sex relationships.

But in reality very rarily the Sodomy Act has been utilised to prosecute the Homosexuals en-masse in this nation.This so-called benovalence of the Government has lead the international community to believe that the safety of the gays are infact protected in this nation.However an indepth analysis reveals the real stand of the authorities towards same sex relationships and their recognition. Bangladesh hosts the second largest muslim population in the world and hence the society is naturally homophobic .The concept of Homosexuality is completely incompatible with the puritan islamic morals and an obvious taboo for the semi-literate society.The morality minders of the society,policy makers and the ever pervading self appointed guardians of this Islamic nation the mullahs and imams have formulated an easy solution to the problem.Though not declared officially like IRAN, still the general overview about the subject is the concept of homosexuality does not simply exist in the conservative socio-cultural contexts.

This untold dubious policy has yeilded some obvious benefits to the Government. A brutal denial of the presence of Homosexuality have technically terminated all the needs for any debates toward its legalisation.The policy-makers have clearly decided to tread a cautious middle path over this issue.The Government’s stand is crystal clear on this issue that neither the homosexuals will be sentenced to harsh punitive measures like prolonged imprisonment or death penalty nor will the same sex relationships be legalised. Thus issue of LGBT rights have been conveniently shelved into the dark shadowy closet forever by the law makers.Since there is no official persecution of the gays,Bangladesh can maintain its liberal and moderate outlook to the international community and conveniently lobby for financial and humanitarian aides and assistance.On the other hand politicians can openly declare and justify to the masses about their commitment of upholding strong Islamic puritan morals for the society.

unfortunately the Bangladeshi Govt and the Islamic society has criminalised a behaviour so personal and harmless

unfortunately the Bangladeshi Govt and the Islamic society has criminalised a behaviour so personal and harmless

Unfortunately it is the gays and lesbians of our society who bears the brunt of this dubious double-edged Governmental policy.Hardly any necessity arises of invoking the legal codes for their persecution as the sociatal homophobia is strong enough to push them deep into the closet.The gay people prefers to let the society ruin their lives rather than risk humiliation which is sure to follow any revelation of their forbidden love. Most of them are afraid to experience the trauma of ‘coming-out’ and thus takes the “Closetted”route to ease the harshness.Most of the homosexuals have to conceal their relationships very carefully from any public scrutiny.Even the mindset of the Human Rights Organisations or the media is so severely biased that they fail to recognise the homosexuals as sexual minorities. In Dhaka an organisation named Bandhu contributed a lot towards counselling and support of the homosexuals.Still the organisation would prefer to be identified as a relief agency for the male sex workers rather than homosexuals. Criminalisation of homosexuality by the government is the main reason behind it.

Often the family members react in shock and despair after discovering the sexuality of their offsprings and force them into sham marriages or quacky medications which may include the same electro-shock procedures utilised to neutralise insane patients.Bangladesh is ranked among one of the poorest nations and operates just at the basic level of survival.Hardly any resources are allocated for LGBT or gender studies.Bangladeshi medical practioners have failed to identify the complex socio-cultural and biological reasons for the cause of Homosexuality mainly due to inavailibily of modern medical journals and their repulsion towards this subject.The absence of any organised research on this subject have lead the doctors to device their own quacky doctrines as its cause of this phenomenon. Recently some Dhaka University scholars have blamed the arsenic contamination in water as the main reason behind rapid rise of this so-called immoral behaviour.It is extremely ridiculous that the research and its subsequent conclusions were based on the studies of african mice rather than human volunteers.While the right wing islamic coalition parties have blamed the influencing western culture and have called for stricter puritan SAHABI lifestyles and legislisations.

The homosexuals of the metropolis of Dhaka have the luxury to slip into the invisibility of the cyber world to look for partners.These closetted gays oscillate between confusion, guilt and fear. “Why do they hate us?” asked a gay man in Dhaka. “Except for preferring people of the same sex as partners we have done nothing wrong.” I repeat my views again that Criminal Behaviour One of the reasons that homosexuality is treated so gingerly is that the country’s Criminal Code decrees sodomy (homosexuality or advocacy of the same) a crime which is punishable with a jail sentence. Any discussion, not to speak of debate, is hence ruled out and homosexuality is driven into the shadowy world of apathy.The gay scene in the rural areas is diametrically opposite.The secret same sex relationships lasts till the society has no clues about it.On revelation of any such activities most couples are forced to break off their relationship and bluntly deny their forbidden love to the society.If a homosexual couple fails to oblidge to these dictatorial social norms,they are subjected to the holy grail of the islamic justice the FATWA which may include public humiliation, canning or a forced eviction from village.Infact the government law enforcers stand as mute spectators fearing the wrath of religious fanatics and society members for obstructing JUSTICE to the sodomisers.

The conditions of the lesbians are much worse than their male counterparts.In this marriage oriented society a marital life is considered to be the ultimate NIRVANA for a woman.Any unmarried woman is looked upon suspiciously as an immoral whore by the pre-dominantly muslim society. So most lesbian women succumb to parental pressures for getting married.During my stay in Bangladesh I have not come across any women who have indentified herself as a LESBIAN,which sometimes really provocked me to believe that infact Lesbianism may be absent in Bangladesh.But later i conceived that the society infact have much lower tolerance threshold for lesbianism.Thus to avoid social abrobation and rejection a lesbian opts to  live with a male partner and producing his offsprings.The prevalence of Sakhi Culture among the  fairer sex inner circles,indicates to the existence of the socially  invisible phenomenon.

Now the simple question arises

WHERE DO WE HEAD FROM HERE ??

Will the same sex relationships be legalised in Bangladesh?

Will the Controversial Article 377 scrapped from the constitution?

Will the social dejection and homophobia be stopped by special legalisation which calls for punishment to the offenders against homosexuals ?

The answer is a pessimestic NO in all the above queries.No political parties dares to talk about the rights of sexual minorities to uphold their puritan image among the masses.Sadly enough the country has been put on the track of Talibanisation since the last one decade.The leaders of Islamic Ain Bastobayon Samity and the Islamic Oikyo Jot headed by Fazlul Amini wants to implement the strictest Homophobic Law in the nation….the so-called DIVINE SHARIA LAW hithero unknown in the subcontinent.The Jamayet e Islami leaders have been groomed and funded by the Wahabist of Saudi.From the ranks of Islami Chatra Shibir (student wing of JEI) the volunteers for Jamayet Ul Mujaheedin and Jagrata Muslim Janata are regularly drafted.The  semi literate masses  of this deltaic nation is bewildered by the corrput political processses and hence supports the ideals of creating a pure idealist Islamic state as proposed by the radicals.

 To be honest enough, I perceive that the present Government holds a loose control over Bangladesh.While the radical Jehadi Islamists has spread deep tentacles inside the army and security forces.The latest scandal was the armed revolt in BDR forces by JMB supporters.The United Nation has asked Bangladesh to withdraw its peace keeping forces echoing similar concerns .In my view,we are facing the days similar to the Shahs rule  before the Islamic Revolution in Iran and its just a matter of time when the democratic goverment will be overthrown by the radicals.

Thus the road ahead for the Homosexuals in Bangladesh in the coming time seems to be more grim and disturbing.We really need intervention of the International Community to ensure safety of the SEXUAL MINORTIES in Bangladesh.I had the oppurtuanity of meeting prominent Gay Rights Activitists while in exile and most of them is completely unaware of the dejection,discrimation and persecution the Homosexuals are facing in our nation. This is a small effort from my side to make the World know about the silent persecution and genocide the homosexuals are bearing and will bear in the days to come.

 

 

poster

how long will the homosexuals in Bangladesh will stand on the crossroads of rejection,discrimination and antipathy??

 

21 Comments

Filed under Analysis of Homosexual Issues, Ashok DEB

21 responses to “An Analysis of Homosexuality in Bangladesh

  1. ajnabee

    i am gay…male….still closeted…..i want to make friendship with gay male in dhaka, bangladesh.
    can u help me ?

  2. Toy

    Hi,aami toy,boyes 19,besh misti dekhte,chele,kintu introverted homosexual,ontromukhi somokami,upojukto bondhu chai,01675675050

  3. [quote]“It is unfortunate that homosexuality,a practice so harmless and personal in practice,have been criminalised in our country. “[/quote]

    I don’t know if the writer really did study before writing such an important article. Homosexuality is prohibited in almost every country. Although it is legalized in some countries, it does not mean that Homosexuality becomes harmless and useful to all. It is harmful, prohibited as it were before. Leave the social, legal viewpoints, if we consider the health point of view, we see that it can never be a harmless practice. See the following links..perhaps the writer would change his sentences.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men_who_have_sex_with_men

    http://www.ncfamily.org/FNC/0707S3.html

    http://www.narth.com/docs/risks.html

    http://www.tulsabeacon.com/?p=203

    • a gay Frenchman

      Before posting a comment do some serious study on homosexuality, and not on antigay sites such as NARTH !
      Homosexuality is not “prohibited in almost every country” : it is legal in all Europe and America and in many African and Asian countries (especially India since last year, and Nepal too, not speaking of China, Thailand, Indochinese countries and even Muslim Indonesia, etc.
      “It can never be a harmless practice” : I suppose heterosexuality can’t either if we consider the rates of sexually-transmited diseases in the straight population worldwide (especially AIDS in Africa)

    • Is heterosexuality useful to all. It is not useful to me. Is it harmless. I sure doubt it is harmless. Heterosexuality is among the most violent people in the world. In fact all modern wars have been started by heterosexuals. Most cases of rape are committed by heterosexuals. The genocide committed against the people of Bangladesh was committed by heterosexuals. I vote in favour of banning heterosexuality. My evidence clearly supports such a proposition.

  4. Pritom

    I’m a gay person. I can not concentrate to the girls. But my sexual deisure remains normal . I cann’t immagine to be happy with a girl in sexual life.
    Homosexuality or hetarosexuality, both r harmful if it is performed in wrong way and with many…
    Please, realise how can a strait person cross his or her life without sexual act. It’s very difficult. In such way it’s difficult to pass my life.
    Now my question is…how can i pass my sexual life for having a good psychological and body health?
    Can u emagine?

    • anon

      Yes it is difficult and seems unfair.The best I can say for you is you are not alone.Many more are like you and have the same problem.Take comfort in a togetherness you cannot see,.One day perhaps you will meet one like you and arrange some way of relieving yourselves together.

  5. Its going to be a very long time till Bangladesh will be ruled by an openly minded government. First the political issues need to be stabilized.
    I think Bangladeshi people look down to the homosexual community as the typical “desperate-for-sex type” of people. The truth is there are more heterosexual people desperate for sex than gay people are. Those, having access to Internet, may go too far, dedicating themselves to shameful pornography in order to find a partner- and this is what I believe creates an impression on the general heterosexual public.
    I am Bangladeshi. I was born and brought up abroad. And I am so glad that I was. I came out to my friends(includes three Bangladeshi guys), and to my sister.. and I’m so fortunate enough to say that they all happily accepted me. I’m not ashamed of myself at all- like I use to be when I was 14. I think living in Bangladesh would have been a total different experience. I honestly pity the gay community residing in Bangladesh. I totally understand that its a hard life for us- to be socially rejected, and very unaccepted. But you know what? I live in a place where sodomy can result in the death penalty- I have read about people being executed here for committing sodomy- the laws here are even more strict than that of Bangladesh. But am I completely closeted? Am I unhappy?
    I speak out to all the gay people in the Bangladesh- find the right people-not sexual partners- but a friend circle that will accept you and will cherish your presence.

    Life is too short to be wasting it to be drowned in despair- live it to the fullest.

    PS- The above comments by Toy and ajnaabee- its people like you who give us a bad name. Please pump some sense into your head. Advertising yourself online will not get you anywhere in life, nor will you find love. You’re just inviting more problems into your life.

    Pritom, I think I have answered you in my comment above, just try to live happily. Sex is not all what life’s about. Love will finds it way- in the right time- it did find me, and I hope you find your love too. ;)

  6. Rio hassan

    You guys have so far discussed about “straight and Gay” people. But it isn’t so simple or just black and white. To my knowledge many of the bangladeshis are Bi-sexual. They are married, with spouse and children, but once in a while when they get the opportunity the have a little same-sex on the side. what would you call them or do about them?

  7. missgirl

    hard to believe EVEN bangladesh has homosexuality!!!!!!! :O i never knew that in my whole life!!

  8. Si

    I feel so bad for you guys – makes me so grateful to be in the UK :-(

  9. Gk salauddin(partha)

    If i feel good in same sex so what is wrong with govt. Still i cant marry because i never feel or find myself safe with girls. Ok i love gay and always love you gays. Joy hok amader.
    So feel free I feel always proved that I am H.sexy. 01755501677 (partha) I doing job.

  10. Safiq

    I had my first homosex when i was 14. Mostly I played as bottom role and I enjoyed it a lot. Even in this old age I still like to have one!!!!!

  11. alex

    Prophet Lut (A.S.) attempted to get his people to turn from their wicked ways. He would say to them, “Won’t you fear Allah? I am a trustworthy messenger, so fear Allah and obey me. I don’t ask for any reward from you. My reward is from the Lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures on this earth, you alone approach males, and leave the women whom Allah has created for you to be your mates. You are people who sin beyond all limits.”

  12. I was suggested this website by my cousin.

    I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my
    problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  13. rajib

    I m a hot bottom gay. Please call me 01766900883,01766377511.I m eagerly waiting for your call.

  14. Shahedur Rahman

    I am gay, I like to do sex with boy , I don’t like girls. By born I have some problem with sex.
    Now I live in uk, in uk I made one asylum to home office as a gay man , I told I can’t return in bangladesh . In bangladesh is not accept gay man , bangladeshi muslime community kill me , my family already told me they don’t accept me . If u come back we will kill u
    But uk home office refuice me they told in bangladesh have no problem for gay man. In bangladesh have no low anty gay man

    Now I need ur help can u give some documents like bangladesh is not safe for gay person
    Please if posibal can u give some documents please

    • abdul rashed

      seek a good asian lawyer if you are genuine gay proof your realationship you have partner uk i am hundred person sure you wil win ihave done it

    • kam

      Bangladesh is perceived to be one of the few Islamic states which exercises considerable tolerance towards the issue of homosexuality.The instances of utilising Governmental instruments for persecuting Homosexuals is rare. But practising homosexuality is strictly prohibited by the law under Section 377 A of the CrPC (Criminal Penal Code).

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