Diversity or Dilemma: The Cry for Social Freedom of MSM People Living in Dhaka City

Diversity or Dilemma: The Cry for Social Freedom of MSM People Living in Dhaka City

Aumio Srizan Samya (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0279-1.ch001
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Abstract

Sexuality, masculinities and gender roles are interconnected in many aspects. The construction of gender among men and women is influenced by sexuality. Bangladesh is predominantly influenced by Muslim socio-cultural values as more than 85% people follow Islam as their religion. Islam does not allow the space for homosexuality. Hence, MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) people are perceived, viewed and identified as deviant, outcast and sinners. They are deprived of basic human rights, access to proper education, health care services and so on. MSM people are often forced to marry a woman as it is believed that it will ‘cure' their ‘problem' and mainstream them into society. Hence, they are forced to compromise not only as a citizen but also an individual. Such oppression is pushing MSM people in Dhaka not only to the edges but also making them silent and almost invisible from the society.
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Background

Living in a dominant Muslim country with a very conservative attitude towards social digresses, life and identity of a member of LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) community is constantly under threat. More often than not they are humiliated socially, psychologically and physically. Often MSM people are mistaken to be Transgender or ‘Hijra’ people but the fact is the MSM people are biologically male. Male sex workers find it difficult to express their profession and preference of sexual practices in the public sphere. As these people are biologically male, society sees their practices as digressing from the ‘natural act of sexual relationship’ and also accuses them of disrespecting ‘the ideals of a real man’. In this sense, they are much more marginalized than the female sex workers as they are fulfilling their ‘natural’ duty which is to provide sexual pleasure to men.

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