Without any window of His own: Being gay in Bangladesh [video]

Published: January 17, 2012

Sometimes an image or a word says more than an action. Sometimes things cannot be expressed as bluntly because of fear and stigma.

Growing up, we were taught that society is where men and women get married, and that’s how a relationship works. But at least 10% of the total population of a country belongs to the non-normative gender and sexuality.

There is a British colonial law, penal code 377, which prohibits sexual relations between people of the same sex, claiming they are "against the order of nature". The law has been repealed in the UK. While it is not enforced, it still exists in Bangladesh, and it is difficult to speak out in favour of human rights because of it.

The gay community in Bangladesh is generally underground and being out in public is uncommon. There is a culture of collective denial of the existence of the gay in Bangladesh – a fact attributable to social conservatism. Stigmatization and taboo have made the gay community, in particular, a vulnerable community. Unable to cope with social conditioning, they try to redefine a way of coherence.

This video project speaks on behalf of the significant 10% of Bangladeshi population who are almost invisible to the wider society. The individual interviews tells the story of individual longing, belief, a countless of emotions and a silent resilience.

With this work, our intention was to begin a debate around this subject. We want to ask questions as to why gay community is so stigmatized, and why there is this culture of collective denial. We felt it is important to show the humane aspects of the gay community. At the same time, we want to show how the gay community challenge the compulsory hetero-normative ideals upon which our conservative society is based.

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