Post submitted by HRC staff with contributions from HRC Global Fellow
Starting today and throughout the week, HRC is hosting a photo exhibit at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., that highlights the Bangladeshi LGBTQ community one year after extremists brutally murdered the country’s LGBTQ leaders Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy.
The collection, titled Roopkotha (Fairy Tale), features photos of key LGBTQ community activities over the past few years in the southeast Asian country.
Mannan was a Bangladeshi community leader, organizer and LGBTQ human rights activist. In addition to his advocacy, he was the co-founder and publisher of Roopbaan, the first and only Bangladeshi LGBTQ magazine. He organized the Rainbow Rally in the capital city of Dhaka with people dressed in colorful clothes that created a Pride flag, as well as an LGBTQ film festival, LGBTQ youth leadership program and health campaign.
Tonoy volunteered with the Boys of Bangladesh, a self-identified gay male advocacy group, and was elected as the General Secretary of Roopbaan in February 2015. Tonoy helped conduct the first-ever LGB community survey in 2014 and co-organized the much talked about Roopbaan Rainbow Rally in 2015. He helped organize various cultural events and constantly worked towards to mobilized the community.
These photographs narrate the community initiatives Mannan and Tonoy started and the change they stood for, providing a glimpse of the work they did fueled by sheer courage and a desire for change.
This exhibition is a small way of sharing their lives and work with the world. The exhibit will go on tour to several other locations in Washington, D.C. after leaving HRC.