Rainbow flags and placards have become common in the protests in Myanmar against the latest military coup in the country.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community of Myanmar has led protests in the streets carrying rainbow coloured placards with #LGBTQ4democracy printed on them. They have been seeking the release of democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and protesting against the country’s military coup. The LGBTQ activists have come together to be a part of the ‘revolution’ against the coup demanding that the army give up power.
The protesters include people from all walks of life. The presence of LGBTQ activists and supporters have added to the wide diversity of Myanmar and is significant against the solidarity against the military coup.
The protesters who marched across the country’s largest city Yangon on last Friday are demanding the release of the civilian leader Aung-San Suu Kyi who was deposed by a military coup on February 1, 2021.
Among the protesters is the former beauty queen and Miss Trans Myanmar 2018, Shin Thant. Shin said in an interview, “We are coming together with everyone in our country because we are against this situation.”
One ant-coup activist with the handle @augustinswift posted photos of the LGBTQ community at the protests. "Burmese LGBT community peacefully joined the protesting against the military coup. FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY".
Burmese LGBT community peacefully joined the protesting against the military coup ????️????— Pray For Myanmar ???????? (@augustinswift) February 11, 2021
FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #Feb11Coup pic.twitter.com/bf0g234iMg
Another Twitter user @acupoftea111 posted photos of LGBT activists led by artists protesting the military coup.
Myanmar LGBT community led by artists protest against the Military Coup in Yangon.— En Tea (@acupoftea111) February 19, 2021
MAY JUSTICE BE WITH US!#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #Feb19Coup pic.twitter.com/1hBgsivHJc
The most recent protests were on February 19, and the LGBT community and activists once again were prominently leading the agitation. Twitter user @watipwintoo1234 posted photographs from the protest.
Today, Myanmar LGBT community was protesting against military coup.#Feb19Coup #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/DknGh3cDY3— Wati Pwint Oo (@watipwintoo1234) February 19, 2021
While protests against the military are nothing new to this South-East Asian country, this is the largest protests since 2007, when thousands of Buddhist monks rose against the country’s military in the so-called 'Saffron revolution'.
The LGBT community still face widespread discrimination in Myanmar, with transgender persons often harassed by officials. Same-sex relationships are still criminalised under the penal code but, media liberty and the victory of the National League of Democracy in 2015 has allowed LGBT rights to gain more visibility.
The leader of the National League of Democracy, Aung-San Suu Kyi had called for the decrimnalisation of homosexuality and striking down anti-LGBT laws but there have not been any substantial changes.
The country has been successful in organising LGBTQ Pride parades since 2012. The LGBTQ activists have acknowledged a growing climate of societal acceptance towards same-sex relationships in major cities like Yangon in Mandalay.