Tag: burma gay rights

Miss Universe celebrates its first openly gay contestant

The Miss Universe beauty pageant has featured an openly gay contestant for the first time — and she hails from a country where homosexuality is criminalized. Twenty-year-old Swe Zin Htet competed as Miss Myanmar at the event on Sunday night in Atlanta, Georgia. Though she failed to advance to the top 20, fans say she… Read more »

Falling in love at a Myanmar high school

Inspired by real events, A Blue-sky explores sexuality and gender identity as a young person in a country where gay sex is illegal A movie exploring sexuality and gender at a Myanmar high school stunned audiences when it was screened at Myanmar’s LGBTI film festival last week. A Blue-sky, directed by Hein Htwe Maung, follows… Read more »

Myanmar is arresting people for being gay under colonial-era sodomy law

Two people have recently been charged under Section 377, a law advocates say was rarely enforced At least two recent arrests of LGBTI Myanmar citizens using the country’s anti-gay law has shaken the community. Police have reportedly charged a local restaurant owner and a make-up artist, who both reportedly identify as gay, in the last… Read more »

Gay man with HIV charged under Myanmar sodomy law

Yangon, Myanmar — The LGBTI community in Myanmar has demand fair media coverage of a gay man with HIV who is charged under the controversial Penal Code 377 for allegedly committing sexual abuse against one of his employees. The accused, Aung Myo Htut, aka Addy Chen, is an outspoken LGBTI rights advocates and commonly known… Read more »

Male-to-Male Sex in Myanmar: A Curse Engendered by Poverty

Shadows in the night-time glow of Yangon’s magnificent, gold leaf-encrusted Sule Pagoda, several men stroll the Sule Bridge. One is Kyaw Zayar Swe, dressed in jeans with two shining studs in his right ear rather than the traditional longyi. He makes small talk with an old customer. A tourist next to the two, taking photos… Read more »

Gay and Undocumented, Burmese Refugees Struggle in Thailand

“Queer migrants” or LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) refugees from Myanmar – called as such because they had to leave their countries and go somewhere else to be able to live safely as themselves – have looked at Thailand as the ideal destination, with its louche, gay-friendly lifestyle. But in too many… Read more »

The brutal reality transgender women face under Myanmar’s ‘darkness law’

Editors’ Note: This story describes situations that could be upsetting for some readers. Yangon, Myanmar — A transgender sex worker in Myanmar’s main city of Yangon was waiting for customers on a dark street one night last year when two police officers approached her and demanded she have sex with them for free. When she… Read more »

Gay people in Burma live secret lives. Will Aung San Suu Kyi liberate them?

“I know some people like ‘they’, but I don’t mind. You can use ‘he’ or ‘she’,” Htike Myat Kalyar Khin Khin Win says earnestly in English, showing an impressive grip of foreign pronouns, when I ask how she wants to be referred to in this article. Htike Myat is a 23-year-old transgender Burmese entrepreneur, with… Read more »

LGBT rights: ‘A struggle within the struggle’

Aung Myo Min is a human rights activist and former Aall Burma Students’ Democratic Front member, which he left because the student army couldn’t accept his homosexuality. Today he fights for the recognition of LGBT people rights and is also the founder of Equality Myanmar. He was at the the &PROUD Film Festival last week,… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

Fighting HIV Among MSM and Transgender Individuals in Myanmar

In March 2011, Myanmar’s 50-year old military junta officially ended the world’s longest-running military dictatorship and opened the nation’s previously impermeable borders to international economic and political groups—from Coca-Cola® to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In November 2015, as Nobel Peace laureate and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party… Read more »

Treating More HIV Patients in More Places: Myanmar’s Next Challenge

Between 2011 and 2014, Myanmar more than doubled the number of people living with HIV who are on long-term antiretroviral-therapy (ART), the gold standard for HIV treatment. This is fantastic news. Furthermore, while Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to be one of the biggest providers of HIV care in Myanmar, currently treating 35,000 patients across… Read more »

Gay People In Myanmar Can’t Live Openly. Here’s Why

Like several other former British colonies, the country retains a colonial-era law that criminalizes homosexuality. This is the seventh part of a 10-part series on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, which uncovers the challenges facing the LGBT community in the region and highlights the courageous work of activists there. *** When a group of transgender… Read more »

Briton jailed in Burma for ‘insulting’ Buddha image named prisoner of conscience by Amnesty

Philip Blackwood’s family steps up pressure for release of bar manager as he is treated for depression in notorious Rangoon prison A British bar manager jailed in a notorious Rangoon prison for insulting Buddhism is to be named as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International as his family and human rights activists campaign for… Read more »

Myanmar election: Suu Kyi vows to lead government

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has vowed to lead the country if her National League for Democracy comes to power in the upcoming election. This is despite the fact that she is constitutionally barred from the presidency because she married and had children with a foreign citizen. The historic poll on 8 November… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

LGBT Network Calls for Tolerance, End to Harassment

Mandalay — Burma’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Network on Friday called on lawmakers to stop targeting and harassing the LGBT community, urging authorities to instead set their sights on strengthening the rule of law. Speaking to reporters in Burma’s second largest city, representatives of the network said they were alarmed by recent… Read more »

Burma: First LGBT film festival to be held in the country’s largest city

Burma’s first LGBT film festival is to be held next month in the former capital city of Rangoon. According to Irrawaddy, the &Proud LGBT Film Festival will be held from 12-14 November at the French Institute. The festival’s aim is to celebrate the sexual and gender diversity of the region. Colors Rainbow program officer Hla… Read more »

Breaking down barriers to better HIV education, treatment in Myanmar

A joint Australian-Myanmar team is working with police in Myanmar to educate the force about socially-marginalised groups such as men who have sex with men. Despite the recent momentous changes that have occurred in Mynamar, some police still treat such groups with suspicion and interfere with efforts to bring education, treatment and testing to them.… Read more »

New HIV Infections Have Fallen in Burma: UN Report

The number of people contracting HIV in Burma decreased between 2000 and 2013, according to a new UN report, which also said there are still 189,000 people in the country living with the virus. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) “Gap report”—which was published Wednesday to highlight the global inequity of… Read more »