LGBT advocates in Yangon call for end to colonial-era law criminalizing “unnatural” sex

To mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, members of Yangon’s LGBT community gathered at Zephyr Park on Tuesday and called for an end to discrimination, especially in the form of an antiquated law making it illegal to have “unnatural” sex.

Known as article 377, the legislation is literally antiquated, dating back to colonial times.

“LGBTs were discriminated in education, health and job opportunities,” activist Hla Myat Htun told the crowd of about 200 people. “They are suffering hatred. So we should make public awareness for that. Government should also amend this law looking forward to provide standard for human rights.”

The new National League for Democracy-led government has made no indication that this is on their list of laws that need to go.

Speaking openly about these issues is relatively new in Myanmar, which only started celebrating IDAHOT in 2013.

The event yesterday included stalls promoting LGBT awareness and musical performances from members of the community.

It also came with a slogan for the year: “mental health and well-being.”

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