A pride with no parade for Burma's first gay festival

A crowd of supporters surround a car carrying pro-democracy leader Aung Sung Suu Kyi in Rangoon, Burma Political reforms and a more liberal climate in Burma encouraged the gay community to stage the pride event

Hundreds of people in Burma have attended the country's first public gay pride event.

The festival reflects a new climate of political reform that has led to the election of a civilian government, ending 50 years of military rule.

Gay relationships are still a crime in Burma, but the law is not strictly enforced.

However activists say discrimination is rife and they want the law to be repealed.

Burma is a conservative, mainly Buddhist country where many gay men and women feel they cannot come out.

As such organisers decided against hosting a street parade, which is a traditional feature of gay pride events around the world.

Instead, around 400 people attended an evening of music and talks held in the ballroom of a hotel in Rangoon.

Other Burmese cities also took part in the event, which marks the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

"In the past we didn't dare do this. We've been preparing to hold this event for a long time… and today, finally it happened," gay make-up artist Min-Min told the AFP news agency.

Social taboos concerning sexuality have also had an impact on Burma's sexual health.

A United Nations report published two years ago said that 29% of gay men in some Burmese cities were HIV-positive.

More on This Story

Burma's Transition

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Asia stories



  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?

  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?

  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?

  • Women doing ice bucket challengeChill factor

    How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge achieved?

  • Women in front of Windows XP posterUpgrade angst

    Readers share their experiences of replacing their operating system

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.