First-ever public LGBT festival held in Myanmar

First-ever public LGBT festival held in Myanmar

The festival was held at a park in Yangon

Monday, January 29, 2018

As Myanmar continues to battle with the Rohingya crisis, the country's gay community can see light at the end of the tunnel.

The first ever-public LGBT festival has been held in Myanmar, featuring many drag queens and games such as handbag throwing.

The &Proud festival took place despite same-sex relationships being illegal in the country, according to Channel News Asia.

Event organisers revealed they were shocked to be allowed to hold the festival so openly in a park, as it is usually put on at the French Institute discreetly.

Around 6,000 people attended the first day of the festival this weekend (January 27), over double the attendance typically seen in previous years.

Festival co-director Hla Myat Tun said it was "not just for the LGBT community" but "for the whole country, acknowledging equality and basic human rights."

The festival included a "human library" where volunteers told their own stories about being part of the LGBT community. Documentaries about the lives of LGBT people were also shown at the event.

Organisers of the event now want to campaign to remove laws against LGBT people in Myanmar and are planning on travelling the country to spread awareness.

Thaw Zin attended the event and said "some people don't know about LGBT people." The 20-year-old added even some people who are gay "don't understand. So that's why it's difficult for other people to understand as well."