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 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 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 till date.
Iti Roopbaan is a book consisting of a series of letters collected from the Bangladeshi LGBT community. The book is a literary introspection of sexual identities and its politics in Bangladesh. It’s often impossible to express sexual and gender identities from a position of power in the Muslim majority Bangladesh where people are forced to sweep their orientations under the rug.
Iti Roopbaan is a collection of voices from people who often feel unsafe and vulnerable to come out in a homophobic world. A series of thirty letters are planned to be published in a printed book. The progress of the book has been hindered by the terrorist attack on Xulhaz Mannan and K. Mahbub Tonoy. A dedicated committee recently took up the work where it had been left. Iti Roopbaan will be published soon, dedicated to Xulhaz Mannan who originally envisioned the book in early 2016.
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.