LGBTQ+ community in Myanmar unite with wider society in fight against military coup

The LGBTQ+ community in Myanmar who have long faced prosecution say they hope that the united front against the coup will result in greater acceptance.

lgbtq myanmar

Following last week’s military coup which overthrew the democratically elected government in Myanmar, minority groups including the LGBTQ+ community have banded together against the military.

Myanmar has faced seven decades of ethnic conflict and like many other former British colonies still uses Section 377, is a 161-year-old colonial-era law under which a same-sex relationship is an “unnatural offence” and punishable by a 10-year jail term.

The first LGBTQ+ Pride parade was held in Myanmar in 2018 and while this indicates some progress, life for the LGBTQ+ community is far from ideal. Earlier this year a 39 year-old teacher, who remained anonymous, told the Nomadic Boys what life is like as a gay person in Myanmar.

“I’m sorry for the anonymity but because of the homophobic and closed society I live in, I have to be careful to prevent this from affecting my career. Burmese traditions and values have always been very conservative. Burmese culture in general is very sexually oppressive, so people have very limited views on what homosexuality is.”

Following the military coup last week, the Guardian reports that minority groups who were typically divided, have joined forces against the military.

One demonstrator Mia Khant, 21, is a Yangon drag queen whose stage name is Walkie Talkie.

Khant used his skills as a make-up artist to prepare his friends for protest and said the unification in the fight for Myanmar “will make us more accepted.

“We all know what we are facing. We ask that the world helps us.”

“People on the marches tell us we should have our rights,” Khant, 21, a Yangon drag queen whose stage name is Walkie Talkie. “They are proud of us. LGBT are protesting in their heels and waving rainbow flags across Myanmar.”

As drag queens joined the marches and demonstrations they were met with applause from other protesters.

Kyaw Minn Htike who broke one of Myanmar’s biggest taboos by protesting openly as a Rohingya, an ethnic minority subjected to a “genocide” in 2017.

“The majority of people realise that in a national crisis these marginalised communities came out to the frontline,” he said. “That’s the citizen spirit. After the protests I believe there will be better unity between the majority and the minorities.”

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