Roopbaan! Bangladesh’s first and only LGBTI magazine! Roopbaan essentially translates into “A Fabulous Person”, and its time for Bangladesh’s LGBTI population to speak out about how fabulous they are and how fabulous their love is. The core theme is LOVE and the magazine is named after a famous Bengali folk character who symbolizes the power of love. A poignant choice as the power of love can conquer prejudice and oppression which many LGBTI people face in their daily lives to varying degrees of severity. The publication is aimed on the community level in the hope to expose love in all its glory and joy, and to ‘normalize’ LGBTI love in the area. It can be said the magazine itself is a labor of love as it involves the input from volunteer contributors, including articles, photography and personal accounts from members of the LGBTI community.
Roopbaan publisher who for the sake of safety will not be named, said “No one wanted to publish our articles or tell our stories… So we needed a voice of our own… Some thing where same sex lovers can express their feelings, share their interests, discuss issues, Roopbaan is that voice”. With such a powerful message driving this labor of love we can hope it continues to flourish and spread the message of love throughout Bangladesh so the LGBTI community can become included valuable members of Bangladesh society.
The creators behind Roopbaan are hoping if successful to further develop a better networked LGBTI community who are confident and comfortable with their sexual orientation. A community who do not fear reprisal or oppression for showing their love and are free to love openly, reaching out to society with a mass LGBTI voice to establish their existence and advocate for their essential part in day to day society.
Love and Bangladesh – One day Bangladesh may benefit from the colorful parades of Pride days and gay vendors who populate our streets with interesting art, retail, theater, food and a different point of view. Movements like this strengthen civil society and benefit us no matter what category, minority or section of society we fall into. The people behind Roopbaan are also working to network with other civil society groups to strengthen their community, regardless of anyone’s opinion on the magazine we must tip our hats and thank the people behind Roopbaan for showing us that community development starts within the community.
Roopbaan is currently being developed into an online magazine. Currently in Bangladesh there is a vacuum of LGBTI publications and articles, and there is a huge need for resources and knowledge materials in Bangladesh referring to LGBTI life. Hopefully Roopbaan paves the way for more LGBTI literature which involves, gay opinions, stories, contemporary issues like health, society and trends so the LGBTI community will have a creative outlet.
Roopbaan is irresistibly dynamic and I hope it continues to make positive waves in Bangladesh.
Maite H says
Interesting article. Are there any LGBTI magazines in India or Pakistan? It would be interesting to conduct a comparative study if existent.
Brian Connolly says
Homosexuality is mostly a taboo subject in Indian civil society and for the government. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code makes sex with persons of same gender punishable by law.
Shastri Sooknanan says
A good read. It is always a good sign when civil society begins to recognize all of its population and that population receives as much attention, justice, even pathways to be able to freely express their ideal and opinions and tap into their uniqueness as individuals.
Anni Harmaala says
I’d say that the fact that for the sake of safety the editor needs to remain anonymous only further highlights how important it is for the Bangladeshian LGBTI community (and for the civil society at large) to have this sort of magazine. And as Maite H. pointed out, it would indeed be interesting to know how common LGBTI magazines are in the region.
Xulhaz Mannan says
I am unawre of any magazine/publications from Pakistan, but the lgbt movement in India is very vibrant and on right track. Gaylaxy magazine, which is available in both English and Hindi, is the leading; there’s also pinik pages and bombay dost.