In first for the Muslim-majority country, a lesbian comic has been launched in Bangladesh in an attempt to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in the country.
The comic was launched at the British Council in Dhaka on Saturday, and was attended by several hundred people, although entry was apparently carefully scrutinised for fear of protestors or objectors.
The comic was created by the country’s largest LGBTQ+ group, Boys of Bangladesh, in order to “address the silence and taboo around gender and sexuality in our society.”
In the comic, the main character is a girl named Dhee who falls in love with another girl. After facing pressure to conform, she asks readers if she should commit suicide, flee the country, marry a man to please her family or stay and follow her heart.
Boys of Bangladesh said via press release: “The Bangla word “Dhee” means intellect, knowledge, wisdom, cognition or comprehension. Dhee makes human beings curious, innovate and seek out the unknown. When knowledge merges with our human instinct of compassion, we simply become better human beings.”
BoB will now be embarking on a 14-month project to advance the Bangladeshi LGBTQ+ movement, by handing out these comics as LGBTQ+ rights seminars.
At the time of writing, gay sex is a crime in the country and although it is punishable by up to life imprisonment, prosecution is rare.