Bangladesh ‘surreptitiously’ holds its first Gay Pride rally

BangladeshDhaka: Using the Bangladesh’s New Year festivities, LGBT community members marched wearing the colors of the rainbow as an act of defiance and an appeal for the Muslim-majority country to change its law that considers same-sex relations as “unnatural” and a crime.

“Whether you are pro or anti LGBT, you cannot help but be in awe. For a group that is demonized to remain firm and march out onto the streets of Dhaka, knowing that it is not without risk, I believe, is an act of commendable bravery,” reports

Even though a “profuse amount were upset, enraged and disgusted” this simple gesture sparked off a social media based discussion of sexuality in Bangladesh and hopefully might inspire the nation to change its laws against LGBT individuals, the blogger wrote.

These incredible individuals will be remembered by the following generations of LGBT individuals as those that laid the foundations for acceptance within the nation’s society, the blogged added.

The Pride parade took part in Dhaka on April 14 during Dhaka’s Poila Boishakh (or Bengali New Year) celebrations.

Poila Boishakh is celebrated with grandeur in Dhaka with celebrations starting at dawn with a rendition of Rabindranath Tagore’s song “Esho he Baishakh” in praise of the New Year.

An integral part of the festivities is the “Mongol Shobhajatra,” a traditional colorful procession organized by the students of Dhaka University. The procession has a different theme relevant to the country’s culture and politics every year. Different cultural organizations and bands also perform on this occasion.

The LGBT group made their public presence felt during this “Mongol Shobhajatra” procession.

The group consisted of men marching in seven lines wearing purple, blue, indigo, green, yellow, orange and red colors of the Pride rainbow, carrying paper flowers, birds and balloons. At the end of the rally they released their balloons.

More concrete details including the identity of the organizers is sparse, although there have been a lot of comments on Twitter and Facebook from LGBTQ themed pages and links to some mainstream media reports in Bengali.

This was reported by blogger who translated an article from to English. The blogger remained fearful that the original article may be removed just as was the Facebook page for “Roopbaan,” the first magazine for the  gay community which was just launched past January.

In Bangladesh where 90 percent of the 155 million people are Muslims, any discussion around sex and sexuality is taboo. Same-sex relations is considered “unnatural,” illegal and punishable by law in Bangladesh under Section 377 of the country’s Penal Code left behind by the British colonial authorities.

The law is regularly used to harass LGBT people, who along with their supporters live in fear of retribution by Islamic groups.


One thought on “Bangladesh ‘surreptitiously’ holds its first Gay Pride rally

  1. Pingback: News Round-Up 4/23/14: A Humorless Hump Day | The Blues & the News

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