A group of volunteers on Saturday launched the country’s first ever lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) magazine in a bid to promote wider tolerance of persons of diverse sexual orientations.
The 56-page magazine, named after the Bengali folk character Roopbaan symbolising the power of love, is the result of months of vigorous efforts by the publishers who wished to remain anonymous.
“We are super excited!” said the editor, terming the initiative “a major leap forward” for the country’s LGBT community.
“The main reason for this publication is to promote love,” he continued, “promoting love and promoting the right to love. The audience for love is huge and that’s who this is for.”
“I feel that I have a relationship with every line and letter in this magazine. A relationship that has cast such an influence on me.”
British High Commissioner Robert Gibson and Barrister Sara Hossain were among the guests present at the invitation-only launch event.
Speaking at the programme, a representative of a support group for gays and lesbians spoke of the major advancements around the world in this field.
He also mentioned some of the recent changes such as the reversal of the decriminalisation of “unnatural sex” in India.
“The problem in our country is many are taking the issue politically. But this is about personal freedom. We need to take careful steps, and we don’t want our development to be hindered by a wrong step,” he said.
As the editor spoke to this correspondent, many came up to thank him for such an initiative in a country where the traditionally conservative and majority Muslim population shuns such practices or movements.
Roopbaan is currently being published in Bangla, taking submissions from volunteer contributors. It includes articles, photography and personal accounts of the volunteers.
However, the launch saw a marked lack of female representatives. Some of the guests noticed this as well, such as Barrister Hossain, and pointed out that there had historically been a low female turnout at events regarding sexuality and sexual identity.