Photo Journal Monday: Raffaele Petralla
Hidden Queens of Dhaka
Homosexuality in Bangladesh is considered a crime.
Sexual or emotional relationships between persons of the same sex are punishable by imprisonment, with sentences up to life imprisonment. Sometimes murderous attacks follow one another. On 26 April 2016, two gay activists were slaughtered in Dhaka with a machete.
Since 2013 the Hijras have obtained the recognition of some basic rights such as education, health, housing and defined as a third sex.
Nevertheless, on a social level they are daily victims of discrimination and abuse, both verbal and physical.
This discriminatory situation forces hijras and homosexuals to live together, to have real hierarchies and internal rules for each group. A "guru", more experienced than others, will welcome newcomers into the community, both homosexuals and transvestites with the dream of becoming women, provided that they prostitute themselves or ask for alms on the street.
Newcomers, both homosexuals and disguised as dreaming of becoming women, are forced to beg and to prostitute themselves.
Others, according to an ancient Indian Ramayana tradition, are called to "bless" newborns through a ritual of songs and dances, which augur well for the future of the child.
Raffaele Petralla is a documentary photographer based in Rome.
After graduation at the Scuola Romana Di Fotografia, he complemented his training trought workshops with some industry professionals like George Giorgiou( Panos/Prospekt), Tiziana Faraoni (L'espresso) and Giorgio Diritti (movie director).
He focuses on social, environmental, and anthropological issues.
His works have been published in many magazines such as National Geographic, Geo Germany, The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Days Japan, L'Espresso, Internazionale, CNN photos, Terra Mater, D-La Repubblica, Taz, Nzz am Sontag, Jyllands Polsten, Corriere Della Sera, La Stampa and many others.
His works have been awarded or shortlisted in festivals and contests such as: PDN Storytellers first prize, Voglino prize 2018, Fotografia Etica prize, World Report Award, Cineteca di Bologna, Visioni doc, Nettuno film festival, I.P.A., M.I.F.A., International print exhibition157, Tabò prize, Burn Emerging Fund, Fotografia Etica prize, Umbria World Fest, S.I.P.A.
Since 2015, Raffaele is represented by Prospekt Photographers Agency.