An Update
Boichitro Dot Bangla

22 January 2018

This note was written on April 25, 2017, the first anniversary of the fateful night when a gay rights activist (Xulhaz Mannan) and a gay cultural activist (Mahbub Tonoy) were brutally murdered by Islamic militants inside Xulhaz's home in Dhaka. The event set back the gay rights movement in Bangladesh by several years and many a activist had to flee the country to save their lives. I founded a secret Facebook group almost as a knee jerk reaction to the shock, horror and grief of having lost such friends and to the loss to the LGBTQIA+ community in the country. I felt that while all the (now shut) gay organizations in Bangladesh did a fantastic job of raising awareness in Bangladesh's civil society about our existence and our rights, it was time to go straight to the main issue at hand which was the legal absurdity of section 377 of Bangladesh’s penal code that not only prevented gay people from seeking protection from the authorities if under threat, but was also used as justification for rejection of any notion of rights of those individuals as citizens.

Update on January 22, 2018.

We have made some progress in preparation for bringing such a legal challenge in Bangladesh and the process will begin in due course. Boichitro will be bringing updates as required. There are a few of us who have decided to become signatories to such a legal process and I have set a personal goal to see 377 removed from Bangladesh's statute books within the next 10 years.

Thank you all for staying with us. Please raise awareness of the need to repeal 377 from Bangladesh's statute books. Please speak also of the plight of Bangladesh's LGBTQIA+ people from all walks of life.

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