The Outlook for LGBT Rights in Myanmar

South East AsiaSeptember 5, 2014 – Reported by – This has been a monumental year for the quotidian struggle for greater LGBT rights in Myanmar. International attention was drawn to Myanmar’s LGBT community when Myo Min Htet and Tin Ko Ko held an unofficial wedding ceremony in Yangon, celebrating their relationship in front of friends and family. As a result, conservatives throughout the country called for the strict enforcement of Section 377 of the penal code, a law punishing “carnal” same-sex relations with lengthy jail sentences, reinforcing the scathing divide over old and new Myanmar. Reform of the current, military inspired constitution could facilitate the end of such extreme responses by fostering greater inclusion in Myanmar’s fractured society, since LGBT issues cross all racial, religious, and ethnic lines. As discussion of constitutional reform continues, addressing how the LGBT community would benefit has become timely.

Myanmar’s first same-sex wedding ceremony was a huge victory for the country’s LGBT community, considering the climate of harassment and oppression of marginalized groups under the former military junta. Under the Tatmadaw, Myanmar lacked credible discussions about human rights or sexuality and gender identity. According to Hla Myat Tun, Program Director at the Yangon-based LGBT outreach center Colors Rainbow, most people in Myanmar still do not understand the difference between gender and sexuality, which adds to the confusion about the real issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in the country. Moreover, Hla Myat asserts that there is no dialogue about “sex” in Myanmar, and ideas about homosexuality are viewed through a lens of “foreignness.”…

via The Outlook for LGBT Rights in Myanmar | The Diplomat.

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