Roopbaan is a Bangladeshi non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer-based platform for LGBT individuals and their allies. It works to raise awareness about Bangladeshis who represent sexual and gender diversity, and advocate for their human right to love.
The name ‘Roopbaan’ is derived from a popular Bengali folk character which also means a beautiful and fabulous person. Roopbaan, as it was conceptualized initially, is the first Bangladeshi printed magazine on the topic of gender and sexual diversity; freedom to love in other words.
Against all odds, the magazine was launched on January 18, 2014, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The goal of the magazine was to create a safe space where a mostly silent minority group in Bangladesh can express themselves without harassment. Roopbaan, the literary publication soon became the most visible LGBT venture in Bangladesh. As the publication process started to engage more people, Roopbaan eventually remodeled itself as a community-based platform in January 2015.
Roopbaan, as a platform, organized multiple cultural and community empowerment events. Roopbaan acknowledges that there are LGBT individuals in Bangladesh like any other societies in the world and they can not be discriminated against their undeniable human right to love.
Advancing LGBT community’s “Right to Love” in Bangladesh
- Eradicate homophobia and the taboo against love and sexuality
- Raise awareness about sexual/gender identities within the LGBT community
- Increase community networking
- Give a media platform to voice important issues relevant to the advancement of the LGBT community
- Act as a repository of knowledge on LGBT and same-sex love issues in Bangla
- Increase social tolerance level and broaden public acceptance on LGBT issues
Message from Chairperson
Roopbaan – Freedom to Love, is the milestone achievement for the LGBT community in Bangladesh. In 2014, against all odds, Roopbaan began its journey as the first Bangladeshi LGBT magazine. Its vision is the advancing of the LGBT community’s right to love in Bangladesh. With Xulhaz Mannan’s promising leadership, Roopbaan quickly became a prominent LGBT community platform in Bangladesh through organizing community events to raise awareness and creating a safe space for gender and sexual diversity; freedom to love in other words. In 2014, with Xulhaz Mannan, we boldly took the initiative to organize Roopbaan’s first Rainbow Rally to celebrate friendship and diversity. Our visible and positive attitude soon stirred the hateful to act with violence toward our members. The year 2016 was the tragic year for us; the hatred of certain aggressive zealots overpowered our positivity with their negativity. Our founding president Xulhaz Mannan and general secretary K Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy were gruesomely assassinated inside Mannan’s home. The whole incident devastated the LGBT community. Many LGBT activists were forced to relocate for their own safety. We saw a vacuum within LGBT leadership of Bangladesh. We not only lost two of our visionaries, we also lost our dearest friends. Xulhaz Mannan and K Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy are not with us today, but their legacy is still with the remaining members. We Roopbaan strongly state that Love can conquer all and we will carry on their legacy of advocating the Freedom to Love in Bangladesh.
Co-founder & Chairperson