Bangladesh’s 150-Year-Old Law Criminalizes  Homosexuals

Shahinoor & Nipa, 2013 – ‘I am a woman and I love another woman. I want to live with my lover. I don’t want anyone to come between us. We don’t want anyone among us to commit suicide, to get hurt, to become addicted to drugs, to cut themselves. Let us live the way we want to. Now is the time to open up and talk about it’

 

Artist Gazi Nafis Ahmed is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this  social documentary photography.   These images are from his project ‘Inner Face‘.  To see Gazi’s photographs click on any image.

 

In Bangladesh, penal code 377 dating back to 1860 criminalizes sexual activities “against the order of nature”. It is a memento left behind by the British colonial authorities. It still exists in Bangladesh.

 

Mithu I live in one of those boarding houses in the city, where I am respected by my peers. I came to Dhaka in hopes of finding a job and to gain some freedom. The job was important then, I needed to provide for my wife and family, and I needed to be able to be myself. I never brought my wife to Dhaka, how could I? If I could understand myself back then like I do now, then I believe nobody would have been able to force me to get married. I know many like me now who have married live the “hard life”. Those who have not married, before they decide, they should consider that matter in its full depth and breadth.

Mithu I live in one of those boarding houses in the city, where I am respected by my peers. I came to Dhaka in hopes of finding a job and to gain some freedom. The job was important then, I needed to provide for my wife and family, and I needed to be able to be myself. I never brought my wife to Dhaka, how could I? If I could understand myself back then like I do now, then I believe nobody would have been able to force me to get married. I know many like me now who have married live the “hard life”. Those who have not married, before they decide, they should consider that matter in its full depth and breadth.

Mithu
I live in one of those boarding houses in the city, where I am respected by my peers. I came to Dhaka in hopes of finding a job and to gain some freedom. The job was important then, I needed to provide for my wife and family, and I needed to be able to be myself. I never brought my wife to Dhaka, how could I? If I could understand myself back then like I do now, then I believe nobody would have been able to force me to get married. I know many like me now who have married live the “hard life”. Those who have not married, before they decide, they should consider that matter in its full depth and breadth.

 

Amit & Rana, 2009 - ‘We are from different religious backgrounds, but that did not matter. I believe our love is beyond the moral judgments of society and so we will keep on loving each other. We have a good life, a pretty life, almost as if it is wrapped up in beautifully colored paper’

Amit & Rana, 2009 – ‘We are from different religious backgrounds, but that did not matter. I believe our love is beyond the moral judgments of society and so we will keep on loving each other. We have a good life, a pretty life, almost as if it is wrapped up in beautifully colored paper’

 

 Bobby, 2013 - I left home when i was 14 years old. I am now the Guru of 500 Hijras (trans gender's) making a living under my guidance in Shampur neighborhood.

Bobby, 2013 – I left home when I was 14 years old. I am now the Guru of 500 Hijras (transgender’s) making a living under my guidance in Shampur neighborhood.

 

Shalok #2, 2016 - 'My body and mind are different from one another. Physically, I might be a girl, but ...!!! What is this “but”? Is it my mind? Yes. Mentally, I am completely a man’

Shalok, 2016 – ‘My body and mind are different from one another. Physically, I might be a girl, but …!!! What is this “but”? Is it my mind? Yes. Mentally, I am completely a man’

 

Ratul I discovered myself by becoming completely intimate with a 15 year old male friend.I am Ratul, I always felt extremely attracted towards other men, and it eventuallymanifested itself through this physical consummation. I could not afford to continuemy education after class 10. Since then I have been working a sex worker. I usuallywork between 12 to 4 am, but not every day. Most of the time the deal is donethrough a phone call, but sometimes I pick up clients from the park as well. Married,high profiles, doctors, school teachers, students, drivers and laborers, I haveexperienced all kinds of clients. I keep some of the money I make for myself, some Igive to my family to help out, and life goes on.

Ratul
I discovered myself by becoming completely intimate with a 15 year old male friend.I am Ratul, I always felt extremely attracted towards other men, and it eventually manifested itself through this physical consummation. I could not afford to continue my education after class 10. Since then I have been working a sex worker. I usually work between 12 to 4 am, but not every day. Most of the time the deal is done through a phone call, but sometimes I pick up clients from the park as well. Married, high profiles, doctors, school teachers, students, drivers and laborers, I have experienced all kinds of clients. I keep some of the money I make for myself, some I give to my family to help out, and life goes on.

 

lover-99-2014

Lover #11 - ‘Our family thinks we are just friends, but we are deeply in love and nothing can tear us apart.'

‘Our family thinks we are just friends, but we are deeply in love and nothing can tear us apart.’

 

See also:

Lovers and Leavers

By Gazi Nafis Ahmed

 


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