Dhaka Pride Celebrates the Diversity and Resilience of Bangladesh’s LGBTQIA+ Community

By July 17, 2023 December 8th, 2023 Newsroom, Regional

Over a Thousand Community Members Join a Virtual Event Showcasing Talent and Empowering Stories

Date: June 2, 2023

The third edition of Dhaka Pride, a virtual celebration of the Bangladeshi LGBTQIA+ community, took place on June 2, 2023, with over a thousand community members from across the country coming together to celebrate diversity, courage, and pride. Hosted by Saraban Tahura Sara, a transgender rights activist and the first trans woman in Bangladesh to enroll in a bachelor’s course with a trans woman identity, the event showcased inspiring performances and empowering stories and highlighted the importance of inclusion in all aspects of society.

This year’s Dhaka Pride marked a significant milestone with the participation and performance of LGBTQIA+ members from rural and grassroots communities. Additionally, the event featured a captivating performance by the small ethnic trans women’s community, who, despite facing various challenges, were determined to showcase their talents and embrace their diversity.

Classical Dance by Transgener Women Tareen Tani Bashar

The event kicked off with a mesmerizing dance performance by Tareen Tani Basar, who skillfully portrayed the hopes and aspirations of the transgender community through a classical dance routine. Her performance, which depicted the dream of becoming a bride through the eyes of a trans woman, resonated deeply with the audience, leaving them inspired and reflecting on their own dreams.

Dance by Suchoyonika

The rich cultural contributions of LGBTQIA+ individuals were also highlighted during the event. Mittika Rei, the first translesbian woman in Bangladesh, eloquently expressed her love for another woman through poetry, demonstrating the depth of emotions and artistic talents within the community. Her heartfelt performance encouraged the audience to embrace their own self-expression and speak openly about their feelings.

Dance by Kazi Raihan

Dance, a popular art form in Bangladesh, took center stage as Kazi Raihan, a professional dancer, performed a solo classical fusion dance. Raihan used nature as a backdrop, symbolizing the breaking of barriers and embracing one’s true self. The audience wholeheartedly appreciated the performance and the powerful message it conveyed.

Comedy was also featured as a means to shed light on harmful societal stereotypes and cultural norms. Utpal’s humorous act highlighted the detrimental effects of gossip and negativity, challenging the audience to reflect on the impact of such behaviors within Bengali culture. Utpal’s performance was met with applause as he reintroduced these characters to provoke thought and discussion.

Inspiring stories of Tanveer Rauf and Saroar Zubair about family acceptance

The event further emphasized the importance of acceptance within families and society. Tanveer Rauf and Saroar Zubair, a couple who have successfully overcome societal barriers and gained acceptance from their families, shared their thoughts on self-acceptance and family support. Their inspiring stories resonated with the audience, serving as a beacon of hope and inspiration for future self-expression.

Utpal humorous comedy about harmful societal stereotypes and cultural norms

Spirituality and the role of parents within the LGBTQIA+ community were explored through the poem “Near Lord, Father, and Mother” presented by Mominul Islam. The emotional piece shed light on the struggles and desires of the community while highlighting the responsibilities parents hold towards their queer children. The audience expressed gratitude for the profound connection they felt with Islam’s poem, gaining a deeper understanding of their rights and the duties of their loved ones.

Herangi Chakma and Ranjhuni Chakma, trans women representing the small ethnic Chakma community

Finally, the event concluded on a triumphant note with a captivating dance performance by Herangi Chakma and Ranjhuni Chakma, trans women representing the small ethnic Chakma community. Their dances, performed in their native languages and cultural styles, symbolized freedom and the joy of connection. The audience enthusiastically embraced their performances, imagining a life where they too could soar like free birds under a cloudy sky, mingling with their loved ones.

The third edition of Dhaka Pride was a resounding success, uniting the Bangladeshi LGBTQIA+ community and showcasing their talents, resilience, and unwavering spirit. This celebration of diversity and pride serves as a testament to the progress being made towards a more inclusive and accepting society in Bangladesh. As the community continues to break barriers and challenge stereotypes, events like Dhaka Pride provide a platform for their voices to be heard and their stories to be shared, inspiring countless others to embrace their true selves.

Saraban Tahura Sara, is a transgender rights activist and project associate of Inclusive Bangladesh.

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