(due to security and safety reasons)
In Myanmar, the quest for LGBTQI equality, freedom, and justice has encountered societal hurdles and legal impediments. The nation’s conservative cultural backdrop often clashes with LGBTIQ+ rights principles. There are many causing discrimination sectors on the members of LGBTIQ+ community which are sort of legal situation, social prejudice, visibility constraints, activism, and advocacy political uncertainty etc. Homosexuality in Myanmar has been illegal since 1886, and there are no legal provisions preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
This absence of legal protection exposes the LGBTQI+ community to potential discrimination and violence but the life of LGBTIQ+ community become really threatened under the military coup regime since 1 February 2021, and we cannot rely on the law enforcements to protect us, as they are often the perpetrators of sexual harassment and violence against LGBTQI+. Often cases are not publicly known.
Myanmar also has social prejudice based on traditional norms and societal attitudes that contribute to the human rights violation and the marginalization of LGBTQI+ individuals in the society. The victims, on the other hand, must be silent as it can have a worse threatening impact on the victim themselves due to the lack of law enforcement. So, the persistent discrimination and stigmatization make it challenging for individuals to openly express their identities, with families and communities sometimes rejecting LGBTQI+ members, leading to social isolation and psychological hardships. And the military regime has also restricted the work, activism and the essential services of LGBTIQ+ community and civil society movement. The work of human rights organizations are indirectly banned as the juntas are afraid because they do not want the agitated messages on the dictatorship.
Despite the difficulties, emerging LGBTQI+ activist and groups are working towards awareness and legal protections locally and intentionally. Thus, there are urgent needs to support the sustainability of LGBTIQ+ rights defenders and the organizations. We rely on the international communities for this support, now more than ever. We have seen some LGBTIQ+ organizations have been suspended since the beginning of the military coup, or now operating from foreign lands, or have kept their profile low to keep safe. Overall, this is a very scary situation because we are going to have less activism of LGBTIQ+ movements in Myanmar and the LGBTIQ+ discrimination and violence will only increase.
The role of LGBTIQ+ human rights defenders and organizations have taken the very brave and important role of supporting awareness raising among the patriarchal societies in Myanmar but also empowering the members of LGBTIQ+ community in Myanmar by being in existence and presence despite the current situation. These groups face massive obstacles, including the risk of backlash and legal consequences.
To sum up, the journey toward LGBTIQ+ equality in Myanmar involves navigating through legal, societal, and cultural challenges. Despite indications of activism and advocacy, achieving comprehensive rights and acceptance remains a formidable task. Myanmar LGBTIQ+ organizations and human rights defenders need international support – to be safe, for security, wellbeing and sustainability. Our Myanmar LGBTIQ+ are under a lot of pressure in a super restrictive environment, and we want the international community to not forget about us.