Bangladesh’s first comic strip featuring a young lesbian discovering her sexuality has been launched in the capital to raise awareness of the plight of gays in the conservative Muslim-majority nation. Boys of Bangladesh, the country’s largest gay rights group, on Saturday night launched “Dhee”, the Bengali word for intellect or wisdom.
“By creating Dhee, we want to shape perception of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, because we should be free to choose whom to love,” Mehnaz Khan, one of the four content developers of the comic, told the AFP news agency. “It’s about carrying the message to all.”
Gays and lesbians suffer discrimination and worse in Bangladesh where homosexuality is a crime punishable by a maximum life term, although prosecutions are rare. The comic, to be handed out at gay rights seminars and other events, tells the story of Dhee, a girl who is attracted to other girls and falls in love.
Facing intense pressure to conform, Dhee mulls her enormous challenges and asks readers whether she should consider suicide, marry a man to please her family, flee the country, or stay and follow her heart.