Bangladeshi photographer Gazi Nafis Ahmed has a knack for digging deep and finding stories in his home country that few have focused on. Last April his series Made in Bangladesh was featured on Asia Blog a mere 13 days before the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 people. With his latest series, Inner Face, Ahmed turns his lens on Bangladesh's gay community.
Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by law in Bangladesh. Section 377 of the country's Penal Code is a memento left behind by the British colonial authorities that "criminalizes anal sex between men and other homosexual acts." The law, or some model of it, is still in effect in over a dozen former British colonies. Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, and New Zealand are among the few that have repealed it.
In the past year, LGBT rights in Bangladesh have made the news like never before, after the government rejected a recommendation by the United Nations Population Fund to abolish the laws outlawing homosexuality. Supporters of the LGBT community, such as the Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, have faced a backlash from the nation's Islamic groups. But this conversation only seems to be gathering more traction and Ahmed's photos are a powerful tool for shedding light on a community that currently lives in fear of retribution.