Crossposted from BoB message board after receiving a formal permission from the author.
I am pleased to inform that the Workshop on Sexual Diversity and Coalition Building facilitated by Boys of Bangladesh (BoB) with support from The Norwegian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Association (LLH) was held successfully on the 6th and 7th February, Coxs Bazaar, Bangladesh.
The aims of the workshop were to:
- Identify social and legal obstacles to equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people in Bangladesh
- Share experiences and learn from each other
- Build partnership amongst Bangladeshi LGBT groups, communities and supportive bodies
- Find out the effective strategy for LGBT activism in Bangladesh to advance rights and ensure justice
- Strengthen our knowledge in the field of gender and sexual diversity in Bangladeshs context.
This workshop focused on issues related to LGBT rights. There have been much interventions in Bangladesh in the field of sexual health, but very little has been done so far to address the social and legal oppressions faced by the LGBT community. This workshop was an attempt to initiate dialogue and formulate future plans to carry forward the LGBT activism in Bangladesh.
There were 27 participants from 12 different organizations that inlcudes BoB, QB, Shawprova, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health, Naripokkho, Bandhu Social Welfare Society, Let There Be Light, Femcom, Badhon Hijra Sangha, Socheton Silpi Sangha, Sushtho Jibon and Dustho Shastho Kendra. Arne Haug, First Secretary from the Royal Norwegian Embassy attended the workshop on behalf of Norwegian Govt. and upheld his Govt’s stance on the LGBT issue.
This should be noted here that it was the very first time that the LGBT community of Bangladesh was brought under one common platform and issues related to their rights and concerns were discussed. It was a great celebration of gender and sexual diversity that bonds us together.
The workshop came up with the following prescriptions:
# Everyone strongly felt that to strive for our rights and take forward the activism, LGBT groups need to work together with common goals and aspirations.
# There is a lack of understanding and sensitivity among the LGBT community itself that needs to be addressed with regular interaction and communication among these diverse groups of people.
# We couldn’t reach to any consensus as to how to deal with the legal issues and visibility attached to it.
# The role of media was also extensively discussed with a suggestion to promote LGBT issues through various ways and avenues.
# The necessity to penetrate the civil society, govt bodies and other supportive international organizations was also highlighted.
# We have decided to bring out a publication and a website
# To proceed further with the suggestions, another meeting of the core members from each organization is scheduled for April.
The formal report on the workshop will be published and distributed in a short time. In the mean time, BoB is working on it’s first publication and a training on gender and sexual diversity.
Himadri is a 24 year old dynamic LGBTI defender from Bangladesh. Presently he holds the premier position in BoB, a gay rights organization in Dhaka. Himadri is actively involved in the project of uniting a number of LGBTI groups together under a common platform and acquiring the approval status of the newly formed umbrella group from the Ministry of Social welfare.