This article was published way back in 2003,when a Gay Asylum bid by a Bangladeshi couple cleared its first hurdle in Australia.This article vividly describes some discriminations and persecutions faced by gay men in Bangladesh.Unfortunately nothing much has changed over the years.The Homosexuals in Bangladesh still continue to strive in the shadowy closetted world.The rejection apathy and social ridiculing is so strong that most of the homosexuals prefer to deny their sexual orientation to themselves and the society repeatedly.
The question has started to appear in the minds of the sexual minorities of Bangladesh….
HOW LONG SHALL WE BE DENIED OUR RIGHTFUL EXISTENCE AS HOMOSEXUALS??
Sydney Star Observer
April 16, 2003
Why gay men flee Bangladesh
POISONED WATER AND BOLLYWOOD MOVIES ARE KEY CAUSES OF HOMOSEXUALITY
IN BANGLADESH, OR SO SAY THE EXPERTS. A LOOK AT A COUNTRY WHERE BEING
GAY CAN RESULT IN TORTURE, ELECTROSHOCK TREATMENT AND FORCED
By Adam Carr (BNews)
Bangladesh, with a population of 133 million, is the ninth-largest
country in the world, and the second-largest Moslem country in the
world after Indonesia.
Bangladesh is also a democracy, with a British-style parliamentary
system. One of the less pleasant legacies of British rule is Section
377 of the Penal Code, which provides: “Whoever voluntarily has
carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or
animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life.” Bangladesh
lawyers, however, say this law is a dead letter. “The instances of
prosecution under this section are extremely rare,” writes one
lawyer. “In my 20 years of practice, I have not known or heard of a
case where a person has been prosecuted for homosexuality under the
Quite a lot is known about homosexual practice in Bangladesh, thanks
to the work of an Australian gay man, Professor Gary Dowsett, who
wrote a research paper, Men Who Have Sex With Men In Bangladesh, as
part of an HIV-related research project. Dowsett describes a complex
pattern of sexual activity ‚ teenage male prostitution in Dhaka
parks, a custom of sex between male cousins and brothers-in-law, a
tradition of transvestism. All this, he notes, has nothing to do with
western “gay identity”, although this is now also starting to appear.
Until recently homosexuality was almost never spoken about in public.
This is beginning to change, but the results are sometimes a little
strange. A recent article in the Dhaka Daily Star noted, “We have a
much higher percentage of gays and lesbians in our society than we
had five years ago.” Dr Safiul Azam, associate professor of Sociology
at Dhaka University, went on to say homosexuality was increasing at
the rate of 3.5 percent a year. Dr Azam’s explanation for this was
arsenic contamination of the drinking water supply. ” With a steady
injection of arsenic in their blood stream over a week, 94 percent of
African mice invariably lost the ability to distinguish between
cheese on mouse traps and those on plain white paper.” The connection
between cheese discernment in mice and homosexuality was apparently
too obvious to explain.
Another Daily Star writer took the view that homosexuality resulted
from the pernicious effects of Indian movies. ” Girls these days are
watching Hrithik Roshan movies and naturally that makes them want
guys to be all six feet tall and good dancers,” the writer claimed. ”
Their expectations are just way too high for the average
Bangladeshi. ” Many of us have reluctantly resorted to
this ‘alternative’ lifestyle with similarly frustrated male friends
because of their hard luck in getting a decent date.”This would all be amusing enough were it not for the fact that
militant Islamic fundamentalism is gaining ground in Bangladesh as it
is elsewhere in the Moslem world. Islamist groups funded from Saudi
Arabia are campaigning for the introduction of shari’a law, which has
historically been unknown on the Indian subcontinent. Gay men will be
obvious victims of this trend, which is being resisted only fitfully
by Bangladeshi politicians fearful of offending Islamic sentiment.
Recently the United States granted political asylum to a Bangladeshi
gay man who was, he said, threatened with stoning by Islamic
fundamentalists. The man also reported being raped by police, forced
into electroshock treatment and ordered by his family to enter into
an arranged marriage. There is a real danger that Bangladesh may
follow Pakistan down the road of fundamentalist intolerance, in which
case there will be many more Bangladeshi gay men seeking asylum in
other countries, including Australia.