Asia’s first LGBTI boat parade to kick off Myanmar pride

Myanmar's Yangon Pride returns this month (Photo: Facebook)

Thousands are expected to attend Myanmar’s second-ever pride festival at the end of the month.

A flotilla of boats along the main river in commercial hub, Yangon, will kick off the festival on 26 January.

Festivities will continue the next day in a local park. It will host a drag olympics, performances, and an award ceremony.

Gay sex is illegal in Myanmar under Section 377 of the colonial-era Penal Code. India’s Supreme Court dismantled the same law for being unconstitutional last year.

Last year’s Yangon Pride was the Southeast Asian country’s first ever public pride event. ‘ We gained huge interest from the society and are very positive’ organizer HlaMyat Tun told Gay Star News.

‘Because of those activities last year, the general public changed their perception towards LGBT community’.

He cited famous actor Maung Okkar’s coming out as an example of how things were slowly improving in Myanmar.

This year, HlaMyat Tun expects even more people will attend.

Boat party and more

Organizers are particularly excited about the LGBTI flotilla kicking off the festival on Yangon’s main waterway.

With public gatherings restricted by Myanmar’s draconian laws, this is the closest Myanmar has ever come to an LGBTI pride march.

The return of the drag olympics is set to be another highlight. Stiletto races, hula-hooping, and handbag throwing form part of the competition.

The prize? ‘World fame’, according to organizers.

This year, &Proud will also hand out awards to LGBTI heroes. ’This is where we send a powerful message to the public’ HlaMyat Tun told Gay Star News.

Myanmar’s first LGBTI choir will also perform.

A number of regional LGBTI figures, including a lawyer key to India’s decriminalization, will attend the festivals discussion program.

The festival continues until 3 February with LGBTI film screenings across the city.

What’s more, this year’s program will highlight intersex movies and activists. Organizers added for I (for intersex) to the festival’s title for the first time.

Author: Rik Glauert

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