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Bangladeshi trans community ignored in the recent cencus

About 300,000 people have been deployed in the impoverished country of South Asia to identify the estimated population of 146 million inhabitants, but many transsexuals and eunuchs say they were ignored because they did not fit into the categories of Administration .

“They only count a few of us,” he told AFP “Pinky”, who runs an association for the rights of transgender people, Badhan Hijra Sangha.

“We rehearsed over and over again that we are neither men nor women. We should be categorized as” other “or” transgender, “he continued” Pinky “.

Transgender in Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country, are lobbying for years to be recognized as belonging to one sex “other” as male or female when it comes to filling out paperwork.

A complaint was filed with the National Commission on Human Rights to denounce the fact that only 10 of the 175 people living in a transgender community building in Dhaka have been identified.

Shahjahan Mollah, head of the National Statistics Office which manages the current census, has rejected the accusations while recognizing that the transsexual population could only be recorded as a man or woman.

In India, where the census population of over 1, 1 billion people is underway, a third category was added to the attention of transsexuals. Nepal has done the same.

In South Asia, transgender communities are often among the poorest in societies which are still very conservative.

Source: AFP

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World’s First Asia Pacific Transgender Network Launched to Champion Health and Rights of Transgender Women

Crossposted from ILGHRC website

Members of Asia Pacific Transgender Network. Bangladesh representative Zahida is first on the right (back row)

Diverse groups from warias, kathoeys and hijras to be represented

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are reposting the following announcement from one of our partners.

For Immediate Release


Ms. Sitthiphan (Hua) Boonyapisomparn
APTN Coordinator
HP: +6626120365

Ms. Leona Lo
Founding Working Group member, APTN
HP: +6597236075

(December 23, 2009, Bangkok, Thailand) Transgender women from 10 Asia Pacific countries and areas are coming together to say “No!” to discrimination and marginalisation by forming the world’s first Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN). After three days of intense meetings, it was decided that the APTN, composed entirely of transgender women across the region, will champion transgender women’s health, legal and social rights.

Ms. Khartini Slamah, Founding Working Group member and Core-Group Chair of the Transgender Programme in Pink Triangle (PT) Foundation, Malaysia, says this represents a milestone in the history of transgender women in the region. She says, “For a long time transgender women have been represented among the MSM (men who have sex with men) sub-population group, but there is now a recognition that we are a distinct demographic with our own unique needs. We wish to be separated from the MSM umbrella and inform The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to stop clustering us under the MSM umbrella. Transgender women are not men – we have different issues and needs. Thus we have formed a network addressing the needs of transgender women only.”

From hijras in South Asia to warias in Indonesia

The group represents a broad spectrum of transgender women from sex workers to career women, from hijras (South Asia), warias (Indonesia), kathoeys (Thailand) and sao praphet songs (Thailand) to specialised interest groups such as youth, Muslims and elderly transgender women. Ms Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, another Founding Working Group member and one of the most recognisable faces of hijras in India, says she is pleased the community is being represented by the network. She says, “For the first time in history, hijras from Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are joining hands with our transgender sisters from Asia Pacific to say ‘No!’ to being treated like second-class citizens. We know there is strength in numbers. Together, we can advance and improve the health, legal and social rights of transgender women.”

The network will also tackle issues in the region such as HIV prevalence among transgender sex workers, especially in countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia, where infection rates are extremely high and resources in place are inadequate to ensure access to quality healthcare, as well as to protect the rights of the sex workers.

Outreach activities

The network is developing a workplan for the next two to three years. The Working Group will identify and explore key populations/groups in immediate need of support and plan activities to reach out to these target groups. Transgender representatives have also been appointed from every sub-region and from key sub-populations to rally transgender organisations within their respective sub-regions or areas to become members of the network. Ms. Sitthiphan (Hua) Boonyapisomparn, APTN Coordinator who is based in Bangkok, says, “At this stage, it is important that we develop a comprehensive workplan that addresses the needs of APTN members. We are already in discussion with potential donors and sponsors to explore how they might support APTN programmes.”

For more information about the network or to support its programmes, please contact Ms. Sitthiphan at or HP: +6626120365.

Note to Editors

The APTN is categorised according to seven sub-regions and seven key populations. Each group is represented as follows:

  • Danisha (Malaysia) for transgender drug users
  • Jetsada Taesombat (Thailand) for transgender youth
  • Jin Qiu (China) for China Sub-Region
  • Khartini Slamah (Malaysia) for senior transgender women
  • Laxmi Narayan Iripathi (India) for India Sub-region
  • Leona Lo (Singapore) for Developed Asia Sub-region
  • Luluk Surahman (Indonesia) for Insular Southeast Asia Sub-region
  • Manisha (Nepal) for South Asia Sub-region
  • Prempreeda Pramos Na Ayutthaya (Thailand) for the Greater Mekong Sub-region
  • Sam Sela (Cambodia) for transgender people living with HIV
  • Sulastri (Malaysia) for transgender sex workers
  • Zahida Hijra (Bangladesh) for hijras
  • Vacant – for transgender Muslims
  • Vacant – for Pacific Sub-region

About APTN

The mission of APTN is to enable transgender women in the Asia Pacific region to organise and advocate to improve their health, protect their human rights, and enhance their social well-being and the quality of their lives. The network startup is supported by the 7 Sisters Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS, Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), and Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW)

Media Enquiries

Ms. Sitthiphan (Hua) Boonyapisomparn
APTN Coordinator
HP: +6626120365

Ms. Leona Lo
Founding Working Group member, APTN
HP: +6597236075


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CSBR Bangladesh: Being Hijra (Transgender) in Bangladesh

Crossposted from CSBR e-news

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CSBR Bangladesh: A pioneering research on sexuality and rights in Dhaka

Crossposted from CSBR e-news

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CSBR Bangladesh: Sexuality and Pleasure in the Quran

Crossposted from CSBR e-news

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CSBR Bangladesh: Debating sexual rights vs social norms

Crossposted from CSBR e-news

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Glimpses of Hijra Dance Event in Dhaka, 2009

Ashok DEB

On November 12th, Sebastian and Aude arranged a Hijra dance Competition, as a part of their Evergreen Project on Bangladeshi trans community.Some impressions of this event will be included in their documentary that is scheduled to be screened for the French television sometime in 2010.An individual from the audience shot and edited the video and later forwarded it to Sebastian Rist.

First Part:

Second Part:


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Nepal: Progress on same sex marriage bill

Forwarded by Sunil Babu Pant:

Dear Friends

All is going Good in Nepal. I just received a letter from the government of Nepal that the government now has authorized the 7 members committee
to study same sex relationship bills from other countries and make recommendations to pass the same in Nepal. The committee needs our support. I need suggestion from you all which countries are best to review the same sex marriage bills.
The health ministry of Nepal will be the focal point (office) for this committee and budget allocated is very small.
We just have 6 months to act. and hope Nepal will be the first country in SAsia to have same sex marriage bill or something similar…

Look forward to hear from you soon.

Sunil B Pant


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Looking into invisibles: Photography exhibition on male homosexuality

Submitted by Tanvir Alim

Gazi Nafis Ahmed was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1982. After his high school in 2003 he joined a course of Art & Design in London Guildhall University and pursued his interest in Photography. Nafis completed the last semester of his graduation from Danish School of Journalism in 2008.. He often works on social issues like oppressed & suppressed communities.

Projects he has completed dealt with Drug Addictions, Karaoke Nights in Seam reap, Climate Refugees, Immigrants in Denmark, Racism.

Currently he is working on his project ‘Looking into invisible’ which deals with the state of male homosexual in Bangladesh. He is going to launch his show in December 2009 at the International Human Rights Day with a partnership with Bandhu Social Walefare Society. Some of his sample works of this series can be seen in the following link:

Couple of years back photographer Sazzad Hossain addressed the issue of male homosexuality in photography as a part of his course work titled ‘Other side of the wall’ for the first time in Bangladesh. This exhibition is going to be the second photography exhibition on male homosexuality in Bangladesh which is open for all

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Normal again: The reasons and realities behind the ex-gay movement

Crossposted from :

By Ramsey Dehani • July 24, 2009 – 15:47

Ex-gay therapy can cause great damage (Photo B Hernandez)

Ex-gay therapy can cause great damage (Photo B Hernandez)

// //

The ex-gay movement, which professes to ‘cure’ homosexuality, is in the news yet again following the disappearance of American student Bryce Faulkner, who is thought to have been sent to one of the controversial centres by his parents after they discovered he was gay.

Ex-gay ministries were founded in the mid-1970s in a reactionary move against the advance of the gay rights movement in America. Rather than focusing on any biblical exegenesis or psycho-biological studies, the movement focused on popularised stereotypes of gays and lesbians, concentrating their actions on such things as ‘gender-specific’ role playing and ways of thinking.

The ideals of what the movement preaches, a move from homosexuality through to heterosexuality, are said to be ineffective and “potentially harmful” by American psychologist groups such as the American Psychological Association, which claims that such direct intolerance and lack of acceptance can cause mental health problems. spoke to Dr Adrian Coyle, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Surrey and co-author of ‘The Social Psychology of Sexuality’, about how these negative connotations affect the person involved.

With regards to reparative therapy, Dr Coyle said that there is “no evidence it works” and that the “research evidence just isn’t there”.

“As a psychologist and a scientist, I want to know about the evidence they have,” he said.

“I don’t think its wise to engage with the desire to change, the reinforcement of pre-existing negative ideas of one’s sexuality presents a huge risk.

When asked further about ex-gay treatments he said that the only positive outcome would be that “conceivably, once, say, a religious Christian who is forced to go or chooses to go [to a centre], engages with it and tries their best only to find it doesn’t work . . . it could be a catalyst for some critical thinking and a realisation that maybe they are not ‘wrong’”.

He went on to stress: “The risk is so huge for feelings of complete isolation of social context and the implications for a person’s life and wellbeing.”

He added that this could potentially lead to suicide.

Ex-gay groups tend to say that members who come to them want to change, and lose their “unwanted same-sex attraction”, but when reading accounts from these people, many of whom come from small towns or cities throughout America where there is harsh intolerance towards gays, one can see reasons why they think that this is their only option.

The groups themselves often cite personal trauma as reasons for undertaking the therapy, with the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) claiming: “Early [during childhood or adolescence] sexual experiences with an older, same-sex person are commonly reported by our homosexual clients.”

Peterson Toscano is the co-founder of, an online community for people who have gone through the ex-gay process and found it unsuccessful.

He submitted himself to reparative therapy, and spent 17 years of his life attempting to address his same-sex attraction, before finally coming out as openly gay in 1999. He told about his experience at ex-gay residential programme ‘Love in Action’ (LIA), as well as the three exorcisms he went through.

Describing a reparative therapy session, he said: “In LIA a typical day meant group sessions where we talked about our issues and get teachings about why we are gay based on the template they provide. Often parents get blamed and participants need to match their personal histories with the template the programme leaders provide thus creating a new mythology about themselves.

“We had to spend a great deal of time writing about our former sexual experiences,” he continued, “and then filtering them through a lens that deemed such activity as sinful, dysfunctional and addictive.

“We also had to stand up in front of family and friends and share one of the most shameful sexual experiences we had, much like people do at AA when they talk about hitting rock bottom. This is a devastating and shaming event for both the participants and the parents”.

Toscano talked about how they were given training in “proper” gender roles and personal presentation, and “how to dress, walk, act like proper men and women”. Examples included men going to football “clinics” and women receiving baking lessons.

However, it seems that LIA itself does not even believe gays can be changed.

Toscano described how John Smid, the director of LIA, announced in a welcoming speech to them that the goal of heterosexuality was “unrealistic” and added that many would struggle with their desires for the rest of their lives.

Even Exodus International, the ex-gay group that is one of the largest of its kind and also the place where Bryce Faulkner is said to be being ‘treated’, now teaches this very message: “Change in orientation is not possible.”

Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, spoke at the Love Won Out conference in 2007 and said: “Heterosexuality shouldn’t be your number one goal . . . the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality. It’s holiness.”

Mr Chambers continued: “I think we in the church often get that wrong. We think, ‘okay, the best thing for this person who’s involved with homosexuality or involved with lesbianism is that they come out of that lifestyle and go into heterosexuality’”.

He added that this was “setting people up for a terrible fall”.

So the president of the group itself is saying that the heterosexuality that he is attempting to push on gay and lesbian people is unattainable.

Bryce Faulkner has been criticised from a number of quarters for not choosing to leave therapy.

However, Toscano warned of the difficulties of trying to leave ex-gay ministries.

“Cut off from the world – friends, TV, news, etc -the teachings of the programme fills the head. You get trapped in a world within a world,” he continued, “an alternate universe that warns of all sorts of dangers outside, that to leave, one is also leaving God’s will for your life.”

“Looking at it from the outside this may seem silly,” he went on, “but inside that world that is filled with shame and fear, it becomes harder and harder to think clearly for one’s self.”

“Also, to know that once you leave you may be destitute . . . without the support from your parents . . . it makes it all the harder to get out,” he said.

“Some kids do resist their parents and make it, but there are also far too many homeless LGBT people out there.”

With the case of Bryce Faulkner still ongoing, and people such as his boyfriend Travis Swanson saying that he was “allegedly brow beaten, manipulated and economically bullied into ‘agreeing’ to an intervention to ‘cure’ his homosexuality”, one can see that the movement continues.

Despite the assertion from its leaders that it doesn’t work, ex-gay therapy continues and more and more people like Bryce Faulkner are sent there every day.

The movement in the US, and indeed, the UK, is going stronger, something which undeniably calls for more research into such false ‘cures’, which even the centres’ leaders say does not work.

NARTH and Exodus did not return calls for comment.

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