Roopbaan, meaning a ‘fabulous and beautiful person’ in Bengali, is the first and only LGBT magazine of Bangladesh. Under the pennant of a lifestyle magazine, Roopbaan features segments like fashion, travel, health, human rights, activism, literature, etc. Love and Bangladesh are at the core of Roopbaan’s editorial policy; promote the human right to love and establish the idea that same-sex love exists in Bangladesh like in any other country or society in the world.
The need for such a magazine originates in the context of Bangladesh, which is one of the 72 countries where homosexual conduct is criminalized by law. Since Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country with a rather conservative value system, homosexuality is not tolerated or accepted. Hence, LGBT persons suffer from social unacceptability, legal criminalization, physical violence, social harassment and possible threats of discrimination and homophobia.
The magazine has published only two issues to date.
Iti Roopbaan (2019)
Iti Roopbaan is a book consisting of a series of letters collected from the Bangladeshi LGBTQI+ community. This book acts as a catharsis for queer people to express their sexual and gender identities in a Muslim dominated society.
The work on this book came to a halt after the murder of Xulhaz Mannan and K. Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy in 2016 by extremists. Recently, a group of volunteers took up the incomplete manuscript and started to work on it. A series of thirty letters are planned to be published in a printed book dedicated to Xulhaz Mannan who originally envisioned Iti Roopbaan just before his untimely death.
A queer poetry book under the banner of Roopbaan was published on February 27, 2015. The publisher of this book was attacked by Islamic extremists in September 2015.