The LGBT Community in Myanmar

Collection with 23 media items created by vincenzo floramo

16 Jul 2013 17:30

Photojournalist Vincenzo Floramo worked on a feature about the Burmese LGBT scene with Carlos Sardina Galache, a journalist specialized in Southeast Asia. Carlos made several interviews with members of this community, including gay men, transsexuals and lesbians. In those interviews, they spoke openly of their experiences as LGBT people living in a highly conservative country where homosexuality is considered abnormal and illegal.

Carlos and I followed some of the characters of our story, which gave us the chance to understand better their daily lives and take intimate portraits of them. With this material we are able to offer a complete portrait, with Carlos’ text and my pictures, of the life of LGBT people in Burma with all its challenges and hardships.

Also available upon request, Carlos has a detailed interview with a gay man who was detained by the police in Mandalay, humiliated and tortured, as well as an interview with Aung Myo Min, the founder of Equality Myanmar, an advocacy group strongly focused on the rights of the LGBT community.

Short profiles of those photographed can be viewed here: http://transterramedia.com/media/25883#

Photos by Vincenzo Floramo
Text by Carlos Sardina Galache

Lbgt Burma Kas El Nil Lbgt Community Homosexuality Burma Yangon Mandalay Photo Essay Photocollection Collection

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LGBT Myanmar 1
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
18 Jul 2013

Alex in a relaxing moment in his room on the first floor of his parents' grocery shop. He did not accept himself completely until he met his current boyfriend in a boarding high school two years ago. Last year and after attending a workshop organized by an NGO in Mynamar, Alex decided to make his homosexuality public which made him feel empowered and proud of his identity. The LGBT communities in Myanmar are organizing themselves and there is now an incipient movement to reclaim their rights.

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LGBT Myanmar 2
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
24 Jul 2013

Alex is having fun in a popular fast food place among young people in Mandalay.
“Alex” thinks that it will take time to change the mentality of Burmese society towards LGBT people, and that it is likely that they won’t stop to discriminate them “until the next generation”, but he would like to lead this change as a champion of LGBT rights and leader of the gay community.

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LGBT Myanmar 3
Mandaly, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
25 Jul 2013

Alex with his boyfriend in a hospital room in Mandalay. Alex, the youngest among three siblings, struggled after discovering being homosexual at the age of 12.

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LGBT Myanmar 4
Mandalay,Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
24 Jul 2013

Hein Htwe Maung, “Alex”, is a 17 year old homosexual boy from a middle class family in Mandalay. He is currently studying Business Management at the Chindwin College. Alex is waiting with his friends for his boyfriend's blood test.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 5
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
27 Jul 2013

The LGBT communities in Myanmar are starting to organize themselves by planning an incipient movement to reclaim their rights. Harry, dressed in a male longyi (traditional Burmese dress) is attending an event organized by the LGBT community in Mandalay. Since she was a child, “Harry” has always “felt ridiculous” dressing as a girl and feels “free dressing as a boy." Now she is 17 years old and studies Mathematics at the University of Mandalay.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 6
Mandalay,Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
26 Jul 2013

Harry in a popular snack bar in Mandaly with her friends. She believes that lesbians are slightly less discriminated against in Burma because many people believe that “tomboys” will be men, regarded as superior to women in their next reincarnation. After the bitter and recent end of her first relationship with another girl, she maintains her dream of founding a family with another woman.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 7
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
26 Jul 2013

Harry poses in front of a Buddha shrine in her room at her parents' house. Sometimes the people insult her because of her boyish appearance. “People who don’t know me think I am a boy,” she adds smiling mischievously. Her father, a cab driver, does not accept her homosexuality. However, her mother and grandmother accept it only reluctantly.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 8
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
26 Jul 2013

Harry loves to play football, a sport restricted to men in Burma.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 9
yangon,myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
13 Dec 2012

Pauk Pauk makes up herself to attend the Academy Awards in Yangon. Pauk Pauk has been dubbed the “fairy godmother” by her closest friends. She is one of the most famous fashion designers in Burma. The designs of this woman, who was born with the body of a man 42 years ago, are demanded now by actors, pop stars and ladies of the Burmese high society. But her path to success has not been easy.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 10
yangon,myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
13 Dec 2012

Pauk Pauk at her favorite restaurant in Yangon. In Mogok, where her mother runs a hairdressing business, Pauk Pauk learnt the ropes of the profession. She moved through Rangoon, Mandalay and then Italy, where she studied design in Milan.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 11
Yangon,myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
15 Dec 2012

Pauk Pauk working at her atelier near the bank of Yangon river. In her life, she has suffered from insults for being different. She had constant threat of sexual harassment, incomprehension, and love disillusions. Currently she is in a relationship with an actor from Rangoon who accepts her as she is: “I’ve always felt like a woman, a Myanmar woman who has never sought easy sex, but rather a relationship of love.”

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 12
Yangon,myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
19 Dec 2012

Pauk Pauk, at her house in Yangon speaking to a customer by the phone. She still remembers her great experience in Milan. It was tough at the beginning to adapt to a new culture alien to hers but immensely rewarding at the end.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 13
Yangon,myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
25 Dec 2012

Pauk Pauk combing the hair of a model who wears one of her designs in Rangoon.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 14
Yangon,myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
22 Jul 2013

Zin Min Htun, whose picture is shown, is a 32 year old make-up artist from Mandalay. She prefers to be called Ma Pwint, using the feminine prefix Ma.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 15
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
22 Jul 2013

Ma Pwint in his small room at his parents home in Mandalay. He does not see himself neither as a woman nor as transgender, but likes to dress as a woman.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 16
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
22 Jul 2013

Ma Pwint dressed up as a woman during a festival. The festival devoted to the nats, spirits worships where men often impersonate female nats.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 18
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
24 Jul 2013

Ma Pwint with her friends at an event organized by the LGBT organization in Mandalay. He lives now with his conservative parents. They cannot accept his homosexuality. He is one of the known faces in the local gay scene and dances often in Nat festivals across the country.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 19
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
21 Jul 2013

TJ poses behind an aquarium at a local restaurant in Mandalay. “TJ” is a 19 year old boy who left his home village in Magwe Division two years ago to study English in the city of Mandalay.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 20
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
21 Jul 2013

TJ walks in Mandalay downtown streets. He discovered his sexuality three years ago, before that he had a relationships with a girl from his village. “It didn't’t work, relationships with women are too complicated.”

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 21
Mandalay,Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
21 Jul 2013

TJ at a famous Mandalay mall where he loves to go shopping. His friends know his sexual orientation and support him, but he didn't confess to his family yet. “I know my parents will understand me when they find out because they love me so much,” he says with his soft voice, “but I will wait until they ask me to tell them.”

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 22
Mandalay, Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
21 May 2013

When “TJ” feels the need to vent he goes to Mandalay Hill, a complex of Buddhist temples in a hill overseeing the city, and shouts to the wind “Chit Tal! Chit Tal!” (“I love you” in Burmese) to his “virtual” boyfriend.

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LGBT Community in Myanmar 23
Mandalay,Myanmar
By vincenzo floramo
21 Jan 2013

TJ at the hair dresser in Yangon downtown.
After a first relationship with a man which came to an end five months ago, he met Internet another boy from Rangoon. They fell in love and now both are saving as much money as they can to meet face to face some day.