LGBTI Asia: From Myanmar tragedy to Pakistan progress

Homophobic bullying in Myanmar. Rainbow socks in Singapore. A first for trans people in Pakistan. This is a brief roundup of LGBTI news from countries that have anti-gay laws or are recovering from them.

News briefs courtesy of Rainbow News from ILGA Asia, Equal Eyes from UNAIDS and other sources:

Shika Corona, a member of the Tingtongketz trans and queer band in Malaysia, remembers when the government supported trans people. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)
  • Some Asian governments claim LGBTQ culture is a western invention: here’s why that’s garbage.

Myanmar

  • Myanmar librarian died by suicide after homophobic bullying. Bullied librarian posted heartbreaking note before dying by suicide. Myanmar university investigates suicide of gay librarian.

India

  • International Commission of Jurists released report detailing discrimination faced by LGBTQs in housing, work and public spaces in India. There’s new video ‘Living with dignity’ about the issue.
  • Start with education system for change, says intersex activist from India.
  • L is for lesbian, G is for gay: Indian parents learn ABC of LGBT.
  • In a landmark judgment, the Madras High Court of India has banned sex reassignment surgery for intersex children and said they must be given time and space to find their true gender identity.
  • All for love and love for all: LGBTQ groups in Delhi.
  • LGBT video service GagaOOLala launches in India.
  • A clinic exclusively for transpersons in Tamil Nadu, India.
  • India: Assaults in loos to chest stares… My life without gender.
  • After a restaurant in India refused to let Indrajeet Ghorpade and his boyfriend enter for a date, Ghorpade took action. He gathered over 10,000 signatures asking the international food guide and app Zomato to hold restaurants accountable for LGBTQ discrimination. Zomato and other apps have now introduced special ways of designating LGBTQ safe locations and businesses.

Singapore

  • Singapore’s foreign minister attended ‘traditional family’ charity fundraiser.
  • Singapore PM does not ‘understand‘ LGBTI discrimination, group say.
  • What it’s like to come out in Singapore, where gay sex is still illegal.
  • Pink Dot: how Singapore’s LGBT movement became a ‘tangible force’ where others struggle to survive.
The U.S. state department discouraged embassies from flying rainbow flags during Pride month, so the embassy in Singapore celebrated Pride with this photo of colored socks on Facebook.
  • US embassy in Singapore found an inventive way to celebrate Pride Month.
  • Singapore will keep anti-gay law Section 377A ‘for some time’ says PM.
  • Singapore holds pride rally amid calls for repeal of colonial-era gay ban

Indonesia

  • Indonesia govt official labeled LGBTI people ‘main enemy of national development’.

Malaysia

  • Malaysian human rights group reject LGBTI rights in letter.
  • ‘I categorically deny this vicious libel’: Malaysian minister Azmin Ali condemned gay sex video as attempt to ruin his reputation. Malaysian police could complete investigations as early as next week, inspector-general said.
  • Story about being a migrant and a disabled trans woman in Malaysia.

Bhutan

  • Namgay Zam on telling the stories of the Bhutanese LGBT community.
  • I am a queer Bhutanese, and my country is on its way to scrapping anti-LGBTQ laws.

Brunei

  • Being gay in Brunei: how a travel ban and sharia law upended activist’s life.

Pakistan

    Ayesha Moghul, the first trans person hired by the Ministry of Human Rights in Pakistan.

  • In a first, the Human Rights Ministry of Pakistan appointed a trans woman to a staff position in the ministry. Ayesha Moghul, who was hired as a resource person and transgender community expert, will assist the ministry and the government in the process of making new laws and regulations related to the transgender community.

    “I don’t feel extraordinary after being appointed in the ministry. But I do feel happy. What I believe is that if a person works hard and makes effort then gender should not be made a barrier,” she said on SAMAA TV. Previously, she was the first transgender lecturer at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad.

  • However, Pakistan remains a dangerous place for trans people. A criminal gang that runs a protection racket targeting the trans community kidnapped and tortured a trans woman even though she had paid them 90,000 rupees (about U.S. $560) to be allowed to work in safety.

 

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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