The editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine has been hacked to death in an apartment, according to the Guardian.
Xulhaz Mannan and one other person were killed in the country’s capital, Dhaka. Police are saying at least one other person was injured, according to International Business Times.
Mannan was the editor of Roopbaan, which is Bangladesh’s only LGBT-focused magazine. He was also a U.S. embassy worker. The magazine started in 2014, and it has received much criticism from certain members of the community.
Mannan was killed when gang members posed as couriers to get into his apartment building. They arrived around 5:00 p.m., and a security guard was injured when he attempted to investigate loud noises and shooting sounds coming from the apartment.
The killing has many officials and members of the community in Bangladesh concerned, especially since it appears Mannan was killed over LGBT issues.
“I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi this evening in Dhaka,” said U.S. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat. “Xulhaz was more than a colleague to those of us fortunate to work with him at the U.S. Embassy. He was a dear friend. Our prayers are with Xulhaz, the other victim, and those injured in the attack. We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the Government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders.”
There have been many murders in Bangladesh lately, including murders of LGBT activists and writers. Just in the past month, a law student who spoke out against Islamism and an atheist activist were murdered, according to the Guardian. The latter killing has been tied to members of the Islamic State.
In Mannan’s LGBT activism in Bangladesh, he did more than edit the LGBT magazine. Mannan was also an organizer for what’s called the Rainbow Rally in Bangladesh, which celebrates the LGBT lifestyle. The event was cancelled this year when police warned of possible security issues.
It is actually a criminal act to display homosexuality in Bangladesh, and that is one of the reasons LGBT community members have faced so many issues in the area. Many residents don’t reveal if they are homosexual, and there are several online communities where people from Bangladesh talk about their struggles with stigmas around being LGBT.
Mannan has been seen as a leader in Bangladesh’s LGBT community because of his decision to be openly gay. Outside of Bangladesh, Mannan also occasionally wrote for international publications about the struggle of being LGBT in the country.
“A country where the predominant religions say you are a sinner, the law of the land says you are a criminal, the social norms say you are a pervert, the culture considers you as imported; how should life be for LGBTs in Bangladesh?” Mannan wrote in the Guardian in 2014.
He wrote that someone could easily face death for coming out as part of the LGBT community in a country like Bangladesh, and it appears he was killed for that reason exactly.
One of the major issues connected to the fact that being LGBT has been criminalized in Bangladesh is the issue of police not thoroughly investigating murders connected to the LGBT community. This has been the claim of organizations like Amnesty International and many activists in the region.
“Bangladeshi authorities have a legal responsibility to protect and respect the right to life,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia director, according to the Guardian. “They must urgently focus their energies on protecting those who express their opinions bravely and without violence, and bringing the killers to justice. The authorities must strongly condemn these horrific attacks, something they have failed to do so far.”
[Photo by Uncredited/AP Images]