LGBT People in Myanmar Risk Habitual Public Shaming and Incarceration

It is hard to quantify how liberty and life threatening society and the world make it for LBGT people to exist.

In some cultures, the word, “homosexuality,” is more than just banned or stigmatized, they are actually acutely foreign in comprehension.

The Asian country of Mynmar, formerly known as Burma internationally, had a decades and generations long track record of human rights abuses, oppression and corruption. Many people may be familiar with the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese human rights leader, humanitarian and politician. She overcame junta-imposed house arrest that lasted years to help usher Myanmar into the 21st century.

Hillary Clinton visited Myanmar recently. Anthony Bourdain filmed an episode of his cooking show in the country. The country will be a player in the steady expansion of Asian global influence in the 21st century.

Most people do not know about the genocidal plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnicity that may have originated in Bangladesh and immigrated in the land that would become Myanmar centuries ago.

Yet the Rohingya cannot have jobs, are not recognized as citizens, are arbitrarily beaten, raped and oppressed with state-sponsored authority.

In Myanmar there seems to be a generations long normalization and practice of the idea of ostracizing, shaming and wielding psychological violence as a tool to drive home state-favored ideas.

Because in Myanmar it is illegal to be a gay or an LGBT person. LGBT people in Myanmar are mostly closeted and engaging in unsafe sex practices because they live in a police state that does not invest in sex education.

In Myanmar, people do not discern between gender and sexual identity. Human rights, civil rights and safer sex techniques are an unfathomable concept to teach to children or people in Myanmar. And if you are accused of being gay, then you can be publicly beaten by the police, humiliated, forced to undress in public, made to shoe-shine the shoes of the police officers beating you, publicly forced to provocatively walk naked and affect the catwalk poses and hip strutting of fashion models and worse.

In Myanmar, LGBT people will suffer the concentrated and aggressive indignities of public beating, humiliation, shaming, molestation, rape, unemployment, imprisonment, torture and suffering long before death.

The public shaming and humiliation is considered to be a public service to the community at large.

Mandalay, Myanmar politician and border security affairs minister Myint Kyu has repeatedly and ominously promised to harass LGBT people in Myanmar.

As reported by the Huffington Post, Kyu has promised to enforce Section 377 of the penal code via security forces as a public service to the citizens of Myanmar by, “constantly taking action to have the gays detained at police station.”

Section 377 of the penal code is the statue that criminalizes homosexuality in Myanmar. Homosexuality is considered to be an, “act,” and not a sexual identity that can be punishable with up to 10 years to life imprisonment.

Because the LGBT identity is illegal in Myanmar, and the ruling elite is no hurry to recognize such as human beings, then the problems of HIV/AIDS and the non-existence of sex education in Myanmar will only get worse.

LGBT people, gay and transgendered men in particular, are segregated in hospitals from the public and staff because of the public perception that they are all diseased.

Closeted gay men will meet clandestinely, risking public arrest, shaming and community ostracizing. The spouses of closeted gay men in Myanmar risk unwitting infection.

The potential for a future HIV/AIDS problem is realistic.

There are not many LGBT Myanmar-related statistics. There is only one LGBT organization in the country, Colors Rainbow, and the LGBT Pride movement in the country is admirably dawning with hope and potential, but virtually non-existent at the moment.

There may be up to a quarter of a million gay men in Myanmar, yet barely a third of that number has ever sought or received HIV/AIDS care, treatment or preventative services.

The non-existence of sex education could create a future public catastrophe with people scapegoating gay people for HIV/AIDS infection increases while unwittingly and ferociously aiding the rise of the disease.

As well as self-sustaining generations of unenlightened beliefs that demand that LGBT people be viewed and treated as sub-human.

The public shaming, degradation and humiliation of LGBT is a tradition of sorts in the country.

There is no concept of, “homosexuality,” as we know it in Myanmar.

LGBT people in Myanmar usually learn to understand how the world views their sexual identity and what the word, “gay,” means to the world when they see another LGBT person being publicly and cruelly being degraded and shamed in full view of their neighborhood and community.

That heartless and psychologically assaultive process is how most people learn what a gay person is.

Worse, 21st century Myanmar may justify broadening its current legal initiative of pushing limited and barely perceptible human rights progress by assuming semblance with the rest of the civilized Western world and insuring that LGBT people are never seen or viewed as something human.


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