Photo Journal Monday: Raffaele Petralla

Photo Journal Monday: Raffaele Petralla

Noyon every morning disguises himself as a woman and goes out into the street to beg. Dhaka.  © Raffele Petralla

Noyon every morning disguises himself as a woman and goes out into the street to beg. Dhaka.

© Raffele 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.   

Fahim, 22, at home with his friends. He dreams of taking the medical-surgical path to change sex: the costs of this type of procedure are very high and his earnings do not allow him to access them. Dhaka, Mirpur Ek. © Raffele Petralla

Fahim, 22, at home with his friends. He dreams of taking the medical-surgical path to change sex: the costs of this type of procedure are very high and his earnings do not allow him to access them. Dhaka, Mirpur Ek. © Raffele Petralla

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. 

The group meets to prepare for a dance performance. Dhaka, Mirpur Ek. © Raffele Petralla

The group meets to prepare for a dance performance. Dhaka, Mirpur Ek. © Raffele Petralla

Fahim, 22 years old, is preparing for a party. On the mirror a picture of her as a child. Mirpur-ek. Dhaka.  © Raffele Petralla

Fahim, 22 years old, is preparing for a party. On the mirror a picture of her as a child. Mirpur-ek. Dhaka.

© Raffele Petralla

Fahim,22 years, during the ancient ritual of blessing of the newborn. Pakistan’s ghetto. Dhaka.  © Raffele Petralla

Fahim,22 years, during the ancient ritual of blessing of the newborn. Pakistan’s ghetto. Dhaka.

© Raffele Petralla

Ovik, 25 years, is begging on a city bus. Dhaka city. © Raffele Petralla

Ovik, 25 years, is begging on a city bus. Dhaka city. © Raffele Petralla

The bathroom at Sohag’s house. Dhaka city. © Raffele Petralla

The bathroom at Sohag’s house. Dhaka city. © Raffele Petralla

Nadim, 24 years old. She waits for a customer at the door of her home and poses for a photo. Dhaka.  © Raffele Petralla

Nadim, 24 years old. She waits for a customer at the door of her home and poses for a photo. Dhaka.

© Raffele Petralla

Imrul and Shakil, homosexual lovers. Every night they meet in secret on the narrows of the Pakistani Ghetto. Dhaka city. © Raffele Petralla

Imrul and Shakil, homosexual lovers. Every night they meet in secret on the narrows of the Pakistani Ghetto. Dhaka city. © Raffele Petralla

The building were third sex community of Mirpur-Ek lives. They are ten people in two rooms. Dhaka city. Bangladesh. © Raffele Petralla

The building were third sex community of Mirpur-Ek lives. They are ten people in two rooms. Dhaka city. Bangladesh. © Raffele Petralla

To learn more about Raffaele’s work please click here and his Instagram here.

Photographic Alphabet: S is for Leif Sandberg

Photographic Alphabet: S is for Leif Sandberg

Film Review: Tribeca Film Festival 2019

Film Review: Tribeca Film Festival 2019

0