LGBT rights in Bangladesh

From Susan's Place Transgender Resources
Jump to: navigation, search
LGBT rights in Bangladesh
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Illegal
Up to life imprisonment
Gender identity/expression -

LGBT human rights are not respected in Bangladesh, and there appears to be no organized movement to advance such human rights. And such acts of homosexuality will lead to life in prison, or even face the death penalty.

Constitutional & Criminal Code

The Constitution has several provisions that could apply to LGBT citizens;[1]

  • Part I Article 2A - Islam is the official state religion.
  • Part II Article 19 - Promises equal opportunity for all citizens.
  • Part III Article 27- Promises equality before the law for all citizens.
  • Freedom of religion and the press are both promised, but subject to restrictions based on "decency or morality".
  • A citizen is not eligible to be a member of Parliament if they are convicted of a "criminal offence involving moral turpitude."

According to Article 377 private, adult homosexual sex acts are illegal and will be punished with deportation, fines and/or up to 10 years, sometimes life imprisonment.[2] This legal prohibition extends to any sort of LGBT-human rights organization.[citation needed]

Civil rights

In the 1990s, Dr. Shumon Lahari (a medical doctor) and Mr. M.A. Faraz (an NGO worker), both attempted to launch a group for LGB people, in an effort to deal with prejudice and the AIDS-HIV pandemic.[citation needed]

In the 2010, Dr. Avijit Roy, an independent researcher and a science writer associated with mukto-mona published a book namely, Homosexuality - A scientific and socio-psychological investigation (Bangla: সমকামিতা : একটি বৈজ্ঞানিক এবং সমাজ-মনস্তাত্ত্বিক অনুসন্ধান) attempting to provide a scientific view and accessible account of homosexuality on several grounds. This is the first book in Bangla dealing a taboo subject addressing human rights issues and ongoing struggle of gay community in Bangladesh.[3][4]

Press and media censorship

In 2003, an Australian gay man, Professor Gary Dowsett published a report titled, "Men Who Have Sex With Men In Bangladesh" as part of a study on how the AIDS pandemic is impacting the nation.[5][6]

The bulk of the report focused on male prostitution, but it did generate some public discussion and ire about LGBT issues, with Indian movies and water poisoning through arsenic being blamed for making homosexuality more common.[7] However, some independent researchers and science writers have denounced such causes recently.[8]


Bangladesh does not recognize a marriage, civil union or domestic partnership between adults of the same sex. Most LGB Bangladeshis interviewed have stated that there is intense social pressure to marry someone of the opposite sex, with there being little support for same-sex couples.[9] In some cases, violence against gay people are being conducted by his/her own family members, the society or self-proclaimed morality minders of the society and even the law enforcers or the police.[10]


In 1985 a National Governmental Committee was established to research and develop a policy for handling the HIV-AIDS pandemic [1]. A year later, a drug smuggler became the first official person living with HIV, with hospitals beginning to receive patients. However, the government remained leery about a comprehensive public health campaign in light of economic realities and the taboos involved.[11] As a result much of the work has come from NGO's.

Since 1995, CARE Bangladesh has been providing HIV-AIDS prevention education for prostitutes, drug addicts, migrant workers and men who have sex with other men [2]. Other NGOs, Bandhu Social Welfare Society and the Red Crescent have since introduced, or support, similar efforts.[citation needed]

In 2006, the government required the teaching of "Life Skils", including basic HIV-AIDS education, starting in secondary schools [3]. The government's goal is to have a comprehensive educational campaign, with treatment for all infected citizens, by the year 2010 [4].

As of 2008, a large number, more than eighty percent, of the people testing positive for HIV-AIDS include migrant workers.[citation needed] Condoms are legally available, but often only discussed as a form of birth control. Religious and cultural taboos make it difficult to promote a public health campaign and the wide spread poverty and illiteracy rates make the efforts even more difficult.[citation needed]


The hijra are a class of transgender people within Bangladeshi society who are generally mistreated and abused, forcing many of them to beg or sell themselves into prostitution to survive. A University professor named Adnan Hossain has done research on these people and is one of first people to publicly defend their human rights [citation needed]. Dr. Avijit Roy covered a significant portion of his book stating the status of Hijra and argues that even though many hijras are considered as intersexed, the considerable number of them are probably actually gay and become Hijra from the feeling of gender dysphoria existing in the society.

Bangladeshi LGBT Organizations

Boys Only Bangladesh or BOB is the first Bangladeshi LGBT organization for gay and bisexual men.[citation needed] Bangladesh Association for Gays or BAG is the first LGBT organization outside of Dhaka.[citation needed] BAG supports all LGBT and Intersexual people.[citation needed] Sakhiyani is the first online Bangladeshi group for lesbian, bisexual, queer women. Initially established in 2005, it resurfaced in 2009 and currently recruiting members.Sakhiyani and BOB aim to work closely to build a momentum in the LGBT rights movement in Bangladesh. Badhon Hijra Sangha is the first organization for Intersexual people. It has been organized by Jaya Shikdar.

See also


  2. Sodomy Laws: Bangladesh
  3. Talking About a Taboo Subject
  4. সমকামিতা : একটি বৈজ্ঞানিক এবং সমাজ-মনস্তাত্ত্বিক অনুসন্ধান, শুদ্ধস্বর, ২০১০
  5. A Review of Knowledge About the Sexual Networks and Behaviours of Men Who Have Sex With Men in Asia
  6. Why gay men flee Bangladesh : Sydney Star Observer, April 16, 2003
  7. Sydney Star Observer, April 16, 2003
  8. সমকামিতা কি কোন জেনেটিক রোগ? : অভিজিৎ রায়
  9. সমকামিতা : একটি বৈজ্ঞানিক এবং সমাজ-মনস্তাত্ত্বিক অনুসন্ধান, অভিজিৎ রায়, শুদ্ধস্বর
  10. A text book case how sexuality is enforced upon in Bangladeshi society
  11. Bangladesh National Policy on HIV/AIDS and STD Related Issues


*Some information provided in whole or in part by