Xulhaz: Your Sacrifice Will Not Be In Vain

Ornob Saki

Living in Bangladesh as an LGBTQ has always been a traumatic experience. Still, it was becoming a bit more colorful, and we could speak up within our community via some hidden LGBTQ groups here. Boys of Bangladesh (BOB) was one of the pioneers among all others. When I was a university student, I came to know a very sophisticated person, Xulhaz Mannan Bhaia, via a dating app, but later on, we kept in touch with each other through real social media pages. He was most probably the very first person who treated me as a community brother rather than just a sex object which we often face in LGBTQ dating apps. I came to know about Roopban and its colorful features to raise awareness among the people about the diversity of human beings in our society. Xulhaz Bhaia’s lifestyle actually inspired me to love myself the way I am- regardless of my look or body fitness. I can remember the last chat with him in Messenger when he invited me to the rainbow Rally in Shahbag. I couldn’t join but I noticed some groups on the social media pages are spreading hatred towards the initiatives. Despite the warning, Xulhaz Mannan Vai was fearless – he always said he doesn’t promote homosexuality through Rupban or other platforms but the diversity of human beings as straight, gay, lesbian, trans, non-binary, or queer. And the shadow of darkness came with a huge shock on the 25th April, 2016! The fear of goosebumps came into our lives while hearing the death news of Xulhaz Vai and Tanoy. It was not only shocking but absolutely outrageous because we all queer people started feeling that someone might attack us someday soon. All the friends from BOB I knew became vanished Or stopped talking with each other in Messenger. I felt betrayed and deeply sad and openly posted in my Facebook about this brutal murder by the extremists because of his life orientation. It took quite a long time to recover from the trauma, but still, we feel the pain of those two amazingly talented persons who did not a single harm to our society but shared their creativity and motivational thoughts to inspire thousands. I got several queries from home and abroad once I posted on my Facebook page about Xulhaz Bhaia, but later on could not get the courage to reply to them because we didn’t know whom we should trust. It has been almost 7+ years, but still, people think we’re the sickness of human society. Even though we’ve talents just like normal human beings, the heterosexual society with blind religious beliefs still see queer people as a threat to their kinds! I’m 36 now and still living a hidden life, but I’m thankful for those beautiful souls like Xulhaz Vai and Tanoy who gave up hopes of living like a normal part of society and still how to enjoy each moment of life. Hopefully, someday, people in this country will understand the diversity of our society, but when we don’t know. I pray and wish that all our queer people remain safe and no one faces such brutal death because only of his/her lifestyle, which has no harm to human society. 

The author’s feelings, experiences, and opinions are solely their own. This text may not be republished without permission from MONDRO.

“Bikkhipto Onubhuti” (Scattered Feelings) is a MONDRO archive compilation on the Tonoy-Xulhaz murders. In this compilation, different people in the community expressed their feelings about the incident.

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