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More About Us. Latest Blog Post. Change is not always a bad thing Jan 1. Bangladesh Personals: Featured Profiles. Update on BOB: A Gay American working in Dhaka for an international finance company sent the following comment to GlobalGayz in April BOB still exists, but not so much of a formal organization anymore; it has evolved into a rather large circle of generally elite boyz who put on parties at least once, and usually twice, a month.
They seem to have given up working within the ossified political structure here, where, as you know, there are two parties with no intra-party democracy and are essentially family dynasties who simply alternate in control of the government. I may be missing more of the activism that is taking place, but I think the LGBT community, like all Bangladeshis, is just so disgusted by the general political dysfunctionality and corrupt, dynastic party system that they are raging against the whole system, not specifically LGBT repression.
This has always been the case in Bengali Islam, which drove the Pakistanis nuts when they occupied East Bengal for those 24 years when it was part of Pakistan. To my delight, they warmly welcomed me to Dhaka and have been great at including me in the biggest parties. But what surprised me is the relatively large number who are out, with varying reactions from their families. Being out does not stop the relentless pressure families put on these guys to ultimately get married, and some of them do succumb to that pressure, with disastrous results divorces, discovery of their affairs by spouses who retaliate.
Not surprising, there have been few if any BOB postings by lesbians. I asked three different gay men where the lesbians are and all three responded with blank looks. Their guesses had to do with the usual Muslim restrictions placed on women. The destined role of virtually all Islamic women here is marriage and motherhood. Anyone stepping outside that frame by expressing independence or, far worse, as a lesbian, renders herself un-marriageable and sets her on a likely course of rejection and social derision. The exception of course is money; a woman of high means could insulate herself with sufficient material and social protections.
She might travel abroad for advanced study and purchase a second residence there or in a distant area of Bangladesh where she can find privacy. But such a woman is extremely rare and courageous. Martin was far from alone in following this tradition as a gay man and far from alone in the anguish and pain it caused both families.
Old Dhaka is a vast jumble of narrow streets jammed with countless tiny shops selling everything from aluminum pots to unrefrigerated shanks of beef to forged iron gates or huge burlap sacks of rice. Chicken meat is kept fresh by keeping the birds alive until the moment of sale, then off with their heads and plucked on site. Squeezing tightly past each other are thousands of colorful rickshaws with bells tinkling; crowds of pedestrians weave and turn as they slowly edge along from shop, mosque, or cafe to home.
In the center of the old town is a wide grassy expanse enclosed within the high brick walls of the 17c Lalbagh Fort photo left.
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I was escorted around the old walls by Hasib and Adnan, two natives of Dhaka. Hasib is a university graduate in philosophy. As we strolled the large grassy expanse inside the fort I asked Hasib about his connection with other gays in Dhaka.
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Hasib is a mild-mannered man of 29 who told me he is bisexual. He and his boyfriend, Rumel, have been an invisible couple for five years. Bisexual men do not usually congregate with gay folks since they prefer not to be perceived as one of them. Both Hasib and Rumel live with their own families and both expect to marry women sometime in the next few years—and they do not intend to give each other up. They will carry on as they have since they became lovers. As we walked around the fort, populated with strolling heterosexual couples, he seemed unconcerned about taking a wife and keeping his lover: As Martin and Shateel revealed the day before, such ignorance and indifference allows countless gay and lesbian couples to exist inside the homes of their parents and siblings without suspicion or scrutiny.
After Hasib marries his wife will come to live with him in the same house as his two brothers and their eventual wives and his parents. He fully expects to live with them for the rest of their lives. Couples can be seen in parks and public places in Dhaka sitting close and whispering sweet nothings. Hasib and Rumel have little awareness of gay life outside Bangladesh or Dhaka. Like most most LGBT people Hasib and Rumel are content to live in sexual isolation, which does not feel oppressive in their daily lives. Secrets are their pleasure and their protection.
Like most middle class men they have computers at home and can access the wider LGBT world community but they have little interest. Hasib, for example, was not aware of the Gay Games or the OutGames; he had other things to do.
Gay Life in Bangladesh
Hasib and Rumel are far from alone in their household romance. There is a similar truth about the other couples I met during my visit.
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Prince and his boyfriend Aminul of two years study the same subject—English literature—at Daffodil University in Dhaka there are hundreds of schools of higher learning there. Needless to say this gives the young 22 and 24 couple plenty of opportunity to study each other as well. Another truth is the role of the firstborn son in the family structure who is looked to for grandchildren and eventual support of the parents, which puts further pressure on gay men if they are the oldest. Photo below: Dhaka University. His interest in human sexuality extends across a broad social spectrum from queer studies to transgender identity.
He has extensively researched and written about the under-served and scorned world of male-to-female trans persons who inhabit the nether-land of cross-gender life. Nearly all of these women are male-to-female. Many have had sex change surgery yet many have not. Keeping their cocks acts like a mask that protects them from being identified as a hijra in the areas where they live with their straight families. Adnan claims hijras are seen by straight society as sexually impotent, but closer analysis reveals them as authentically sexually desirous beings who gain gratification as passive partners of males and being in that role allows them to feel vicariously female.
They are ridiculed and scorned by the larger society so they are naturally protective of their bodies and community. Adnan is nevertheless passionate about his desire to talk and act on behalf of the hijra community, which numbers in the thousands in Bangladesh, to improve their dim destinies.
Indeed, across southeast Asia similar folklore regarding enhanced spiritual authority of polysexual people are woven into ancient legends and mythologies. Bangladesh is no exception, Adnan explained.
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Hijras are very poor and without education. It would be virtually impossible for these two extreme opposites to meet as equals. This is unthinkable for the vast majority of hijras.
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The negative view of hijras was further confirmed over the dinner one evening at Spaghetti Jazz restaurant, mentioned above. They harass people. If someone refuses to give them baksheesh money they will start yelling at the person or they may expose themselves and act crazy. Who wants to be around that!
So, the only thing they can do is go and live with people of their kind and extort money from others or work as sex-workers. Bangladesh , Alabama , Dhaka. Bangladesh , California , khulna. I am very simple, want friends to share my real sexuality through meetings, conversions and others.
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