Just 11 months ago, the people of Ireland rejoiced as their country became the first to legalise gay marriage by popular vote.
On that monumental day in May, 62 per cent of the republic voted in favour of the legalisation of same-sex marriage, marking a historical day – not only for the country, but for the world.
The following day, newspapers and magazines across the globe shown photographs of people celebrating, and while the people photographed were not all members of the LGBT community, they were simply those willing to celebrate and fight for equality.
Unfortunately today’s papers will have no such happy story.
Xulhaz Mannan was the forward thinking editor of Roopbaan, Bangladesh’s only magazine for the LGBT community.
His magazine was founded just two years ago to aid the wavering battle for acceptance in Bangladesh – but just yesterday, Mannan’s first floor Dhaka apartment was raided by a gang posing as delivery men, and he was hacked to death along with his dear friend and fellow journalist, Tanay Mojumdar.
According to The Guardian, six people entered his flat at around 5pm before a flurry of commotion was heard shortly afterwards including that of shouting and gun shots.
A security guard at Mannan’s building spoke of the repulsing scenes, saying:
I heard shouting and shooting sounds from the flat and went to look into the incident. The assailants then attacked me with knives.
According to numerous witnesses, the men then fled the scene while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)’.
We're saddened by the murders of Xulhaz Mannan + Tanay Mojumdar who both worked for Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine pic.twitter.com/T1EPkLQxM0
— Acts of Greatness (@ActsofGreatness) April 25, 2016
BBC News reports that the self-proclaimed Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the killings, although the Bangladeshi government remains adamant that their is no such Islamist presence in the country.
The cold blooded murder of Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar has sparked outrage across the globe.
The US ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Bernicat, said:
I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi. We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders.
Thousands of others took to Twitter to voice their upset and anger:
Outraged by murder of Prof Siddique & our own Xulhaz Mannan. Strongly urge govt of #Bangladesh to condemn killings & apprehend killers.
— David Saperstein (@AmbSaperstein) April 25, 2016
— John Kirby (@statedeptspox) April 25, 2016
Can't believe my eyes. I am disgusted. Senseless, brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar in Bangladesh, both LGBT activists…
— Sebastian de Souza (@sebdesouza) April 25, 2016
— Raza Ahmad Rumi (@Razarumi) April 25, 2016
However the killings are not isolated murders, in fact they come just two days after an intellectual English professor, Rezaul Karim Saddique, was hacked to death with machetes in the country.
Just a few weeks back a 28-year-old openly atheist blogger known as Nazimuddin Samad, was murdered near the university where he was studying law.
The harrowing list of forward thinking individuals who have been murdered in Bangladesh alone in the past 12 months is hauntingly gargantuan.
By law, homosexuality remains technically illegal in Bangladesh and is a constant topic of highly sensitive debate in society.
Rest in peace to all those killed senselessly and heartlessly throughout history by murderers with a warped ideology fuelled by an ill-informed and distorted depiction of religion.