Xulhaz subscribed to BoB’s Yahoo! mailing list sometime at the end of 2005; just a few days after I met him online and convinced him to join the group. We met in a Yahoo! chat room and I still remember how easy it was for me to knock him since his ID was devoid of any ambiguity and clearly stated his intentions. His nick online was ‘Samesexlover’, but he was not the predatory kind who was just looking for random hookups. In fact, it was his friendly approach and witty style of conversation that got me hooked. During a time when everyone was busy hiding behind various pseudonyms and innovative user handles, Xulhaz was out and open without any shame or guilt. He did not take a lot of time to decide to join BoB when I explained the goal of the platform. Of course, he heard about the group already but unfortunately, all the wrong things.
In the initial days, Xulhaz was quite active on the message board and used to send a number of emails and engage with others in debates. While I was going through the archive of the Yahoo! group a few months ago, I stumbled upon some of those conversations. And I thought it would be wrong not to share them with the wider world. These clearly show how he was a step ahead than most of us in terms of his sexuality and his vision for a LGBTQ community in Bangladesh. Some of the conversations give insight into his early political thoughts around identity and movement while some of the emails are just fun and creative.
The emails below are directly copied from the message board without any edits and keeping the writing style, including the choice of font color Xulhaz was known for. Oh, by the way, he was known as ‘blue prince’ in the initial days and came to be lovingly known as XM gradually.
This was his first-ever email to BoB
Oct 23, 2005
I guess I’m the latest member to this group!! I was & still am overwhelmed with the topics we are discussing here!! It’s really an eye-opener!! My special thanks to Mr. Robin for his intiatives..and also want to express my interest in your efforts…
Also wanna thank sm person who had sent sm tips on reducing earthquake
harards..I’m sorry I deleted that mail…And finally my thanks to the person
who initiated this whole group mail thing…
Thanks to all again!!!!!!!! regards..XM
His first email was met with a warm welcome by other active members of the group, which was run by T, H and P at that time.
Oct 24, 2005
Dear Mr T!!
Thanks for your reply!! Actually I did hear abt this mail grp…way back & thought that i would be nothing but sm match making stuff..men looking for men!! Well..while those elements are there..i have already read mails..regarding other issues..or mere expression of thoughts..its really great !!
Last time i forgot to thank the person who gave me the address though..Thanks buddy!! if you are reading this!!
Oct 24, 2005
Dear H & R!!
I’ve decided on not using Mr. any more!!Makes it sound too formal!! So dont feel that i’m showing disrespect!! Any ways…actually I just donno how to express..I didnt expect such sharp replies….helpful guidances…I guess thanks are not enough!! And have decided to stop thanking everytime as well!!…….
I have always taken pride in my being gay, knowing that I’m different from my hetero frinds..and putting that logic in their socially contructed heads!!and today I feel more complete..more secured…knowing that there are people around me..who dsnt share common sexual orientation but also common intellectual traits!!Thanks to all for the last time….
Soon a debate about the possibility of a gay movement in Bangladesh ensued among the group members. While some people argued in favor of BoB stepping up its political work, some said it would unnecessarily disturb the ‘gay scene’ and bring backlash. This is what XM had to say…
Oct 26, 2005
So far this issue seemed to have heated up!! Well i wd nt want to get into the debate ..but share sm of my views ……As i wrote in one of my prev mails..I ‘ve always taken pride in my being gay!! We cant expect the majoritarian social context..connotation of sex to change over night!! Just like women’s rights activists are fighting for their just rights in society!! Laws permit them as equal to men but does society feel the same?? no!!
I dont think changing the law actually changes peoples mind set up!!To change ppls mind set..we need more dialogues..more literature..more affirmative presentation! In the west, sm states have legalised samesex marriges..but do u think it has changed social norms towards samesexlovers!! I dont think so!!
What Im trying to say here..is that those who feel concerned about it..need to be bold enough to atleast admit to their fellows..friends..I can say this worked for me…..and when i create positive attitude among, guess. 20prsns..those 20 prsn will also convey the same msg to multiplied nos of ppl !! Some may still not like this but they become tolerant to it !! And i blv, thts how society changes…other than such dialogues…enough literature, media coverage is required..so i guess the person who intiated the gay writings/collections.shud be welcomed and assited!! sm one may even think abt making a movie..or docs..when there’s enough positive social ground i blv laws will change..on its own course…
Finally I just have one thing to say..to those who oppose such day dreaming!! We need to have high dreams to suvive through this bitter reality!! dont stop us!! and thanks(oopps!!) for reading this long mail!! take care..bye…XM
Oct 29, 2005
Is it possible to see ‘movement’ fm a different point of view!!It may be fatal if we ask all the gays in BD to unite and speak up for their rights in public!! But there other modes to movements!
As i said in my prev. mail..please try to grow a positive attitude around your own surroundings…make them understand wht u r and what u r not!!..sm will understand..sm will not..but then at least they’ll know what a gay person looks like!! As you said gay life is as normal as straight life!!Let them know it!!
I dont want to sound offensive, but i wd say one the major problem in any future gay movement,is the lack of unity among BD gays! there are few hard core gays like me….most i think(i may be wrong) enjoy gay sex….so it doesnt matter to them..so far they do it in the dark & remain safe!!
Sometimes Xulhaz would be the one to initiate a discussion, which was thought-provoking and very constructive for the otherwise apolitical gay community.
Nov 7, 2005
Can any one here gimme a better understanding (thn wht I have) of the words we are discussing at BOB!
1.) Gayism: gayhood or gay sex!!
2.) Movement: socio-cultural or poltical!!
3.) Platform: Organised group or solitary defender!!
4.) Benefit(?): Do or Die / Do and Die!!
Well with my first point! I blv among 100 men 5 are on two extremes..like extremist heteros & extremist homosexuals..for the ppl in between sexuality is sm thing that fluctuates with their ageing, experiences, access to sex…I’ve strong opposition to accept boys in hostels practicing M2M sex as gay hood!! Most men enjoy gay sex and so far they do it in the dark they don’t seem to bother much about factors such as rights..social acceptance..etc.. Only few believe to be gay & live a life of gay hood!
2.) The sense of movement is still blurred!! What will it be like!! smthing at a political level? Marching/protesting on the streets..getting into legal suits?? Or sm thing more socio-cultural…creating awareness among general ppl, safe sex education, portrayal of gay relations as positive in literature,movies,music.?? If I’m to choose..I’ll definitly chose the latter..
3.) We do need sm platform; not to fight but to prevent..basically each of us need to fight with ourselves first! We need be comfortable with our identity, have high self esteem. Meanwhile an organization like BOB could only act as a moderator ..to sm extent an educator..promoter..
4.) Sm of us think that we are better of now..well the choice is always ours..either we do or die..or ..we do and die…I dont think having to have the opportunity to explore enormous no of men in dark satisfies me more than having the privilege to say that I’m in love with a man in open air!
I believe my points are pretty clarified to me..and have seen sm others with similar views…While I don’t mean to offend any ones point of view..I just want everyone to think once again..and possibly add some more to it!!
I’ll end up with one my hajale which has nothing to with it!!May be tribute to sm one who need to freshen up!!!!
Kobita lekhok hoyona
Kobi hote shekho!!
Kobi hoye uthte uthte
Ekta kobita lekho!!
With love & regards, XM
“But what about religion?” The topic has always been a controversial one for the community and we all had our own thoughts about it. Discussions like this used to generate a good number of emails and would keep the message board lively. And of course, the community benefited from the wise words of XM.
Nov 12, 2005
It seems that some of us are really taking their tolls on religion!! I come from a pious Muslim family..but the day I declared to strip off my relations with religion my parents only said, “You need religion for your own personal and social peace, if you think u can have all that without it, then do it!!” And for infos sake, I striped off from religion way back I was aware off my gay hood and only because I didn’t feel like it.
My point is, there is no ground for hypocrisy here!! Either you abide by the rules or u don’t!
One thing surprises me, most religion; esp. Islam has strictly forbidden all sorts of sexual relation (even eye contact) between men and woman before marriage!! But aamader deshe je lakh lakh pola-maiya prem kortase..chodaya gang banaya felaitase..koi tader to dhormo niye eto matha betha dekhina. Every one seems to think that it’s the demand of the ages!!
Same restrictions are on corruption, bribery, homicide, torture, repression, lie, etc etc..but no body seems to be as concerned with sins as the gays are! Gays seem to have perfected their sin of sodomy as the ultimate one!
Hey Man!! Don’t be so hard on your self! Just be happy with whatever you are doing. Don’t lose the peace of mind just for mere earthly sex acts. God will reward you in heaven. But if u think u still can’t resist, then don’t punish yourself; don’t think u r doing some thing wrong. GOD is so so cool! God is so merciful! If a killer can expect mercy of God, so can you! Be good to your self and don’t let society decide your fate; let GOD do GOD’s work!!
Please please please!! Don’t lose the peace of your mind for any thing, be that your sex drive, be that your GOD’s commands!
Bye , XM
Those of us who knew Xulhaz also knew his talent for writing poems and sometimes he would share his creations with others.
Nov 14, 2005
I switch from room to room
Searching for the right guy !
I know you’re there somewhere
I start up a chat, saying:Hi !
I even changed my ID someday
Trying to get laid so easy…
But Man! You are such loser..
Keep on talking kinda cheesy!!
My ID says all about me..
My ID says what’s my bizz
Still you ask those stupid questions..
Still you ask: ASL plzz……
Again I’m switching from room to room
Hoping that I’ll meet you some day..
Hoping that you’ll chat me for what I am
Not `cause you found that I was gay
XM loved Moushumi Bhoumik and no one could sing her songs with the level of emotion he used to put in. This was one of his favorite songs.
Nov 20, 2005
Words are useless,
Specially the sentences
How can I say..
How I feel…..
Kichui to aar jay na bola
Kar kotha ke bujhbe bolo
Bujhte hole kothar mane
Chena pother baire cholo
What is a hajale? Who knew! But whatever Xulhaz wrote in the name of ‘hajale’ was pure literary genius.
Nov 22, 2005
I just retrieved one of my very oldie hajale and guess what..it was about you!! Or was it?? Any ways..if not the present one it’s certainly about the ancient one..
Jonmantore palano jay na,
Ke aache je bisshash kore!
Ki nirmom she bastobota
Ek jonmo ke heyo kore…
Tutan Kham’n ke proshno..
Kemon aache aatta tomar?
Aar koto din baki?
A’mor hote giye,
Oi Mummy-r prokosthe
Bondi-i hole naki!!
Hope you like it!! bye..XM
Xulhaz’s first event at BoB was a film screening at the Kalabagan branch of Jolly Bee. ‘The Trip’ movie was screened and this was his impression about the event. His sense of humor is unmissable here!
Dec 2, 2005
This mail is for those who missed all the fun!
Well I wdnt go much into details of the day so far Shahosi has that for u already, but my perceptions!!
Well, It was of course a day to remember! Meeting almost 30(!) samsexlovers in broad day light and without the drive to get laid(!!) Well! there were quite a few faces awaiting to be revealed out of their pseudonyms in BOB…=/?!?..we also had the chance to meet some celebritry!!
Hmm…the film..the food..the chitchat..the tangki baji..the discussions.. well….everything should be accredited to the efforts of the organisers!( Do i get any extra credit for this??)..except for the delay..which I wd say was a ‘shap-e-bor’..cause we got the chance to know each other more!!!
And what? no no no..I wasn’t pressed by the organisers to propogate!!Please believe me!! pleeeaassee.i am writing this mail with the spirits of……!!..XM
Top? Bottom? Versatile? What did Xulhaz think about these roles and their implication among the gay community?
Jan 11, 2006
Who’s the BOSS?!?!?
If I were to make a survey on the most common homosexual question among male homosexuals…the highest scorer wd most probably be, ” R u Top or Bottom?”…or.. “active or passive?”….
If I’m not mistaken male homosexuality is generally defined as the ‘psycho-sexual attraction of a man towards other men’…which is now acknowledged as a normal and natural human instict!
If this is all about men, then where the hell this Top or Bottom stuff come from?? And why on earth some one will remain active in the act and the other passive..unless there’s grave psychological and socio-cultural reason behind this!
It seems(to me ofcourse), while the instinct of attraction is natural, its physical show down is rather socio-cultural…most homosexual men are interested in the ‘sex’ part of it..and they prefer to replicate the traditional ‘hetero-sexual’ sex act..whr one tends to play the male, while the other, female part! this is unacceptable(to me)…this practice not only humilates one males identity(the female role player)..but also insults the female kind and their role in society!! It also enourages the dominant male ( the male role player) ego..and despotic role of men in society!
I’m not against ‘anal-sex’..its just a way of having sex..but my problem is with the attitude of some men towards it…the way they seem to behave like ‘being served’..and others as ‘serving’…
I dont have anything to say abt MSMs…cause for them this is all abt sex..and they’ll have it whichever they wanna..but I’d definitely like gay ppl to think of sex as ‘participatory’…whr both play to win and ultimately both win!!
Top/bottom/versatile shudn’t be someone’s identity! XM
We all know how Xulhaz loved to dance! His crazy swirls, spin-till-you-drop move and all the energy he used to bring to the dance floor was life of a party. And what a blast he had in his first BoB’s famous (or rather infamous) DJ party! He also helped organize and raise funds for this event.
Jan 8, 2006
Dance, Dinner & Disrtress
This being my first time at BoB’s party, I cant really compare..but with the possibility that the party may be postponed due to frustrating turn overs..it was more than what I had expected……
Well..I had a great time planning for the party…and finally whn the day arrived..I was on my purple wings….though the DHK traffic dsnt seem to have any pity for that!
Hmmmm….party room was a bit too dark..yes! i do agree to R..it did look like some 18th century ones…but…I guess ultimately a party is measured by the spirit of the party ppls…which im sure was full to the brim..the dance floor rocked with the butt shakings…and foot swingings!!!…
But I dont agree to R’s perception of BOB’s image!!..hey man!! there’s always a first time for everything…so each party will invite newer faces..and as older participant i guess the duty lies on your shoulder to embrace them..not repent over the missing faces!!
I must admit..even with financial constraints..the organisers were able to prove their sincererity to make the party a success!!I did receive the warmest treament from each one…H waiting outside with his welcoming smile..and tying me up with a wrist band!! P..feeing me of his plate….T & M being the two best dance partner….
And I guess I’ll remember the party..atleast next 3/4 days..cause my whole body is aching like hell..I wish the organisers had planned some treatment (oil massage)…for the after party distress!!! hahahah..XM
Finally, here’s a poem he wrote addressing one of the members of the group. The poem speaks volume of his love for love and life.
Nov 28, 2005
Dead tree with blooming burdens,
Come down to my knees..
Sing me the sweetest Lullaby,
A million honey-suckling bees…
If I were to have wings,
Wings of a blue butter fly!
I would take death out of love
It to the mid night blue sky!!
Love is as BIG as life it self,
Small when YOU wanna live.
Making love is ever shorter..
How much effort you give!
Loneliness is being you..
Tears are your treasure
Make love to life it self..
Thy the maximum pleasure!!! XM