LGBT rights in Myanmar
|Penalty||Ten years to life in prison (rarely enforced)|
|Gender identity||Gender change not recognised|
|Recognition of relationships||No recognition of same-sex relationships|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Myanmar are subject to official persecution and discrimination, with LGBT residents facing legal and social challenges not experienced by other citizens. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and section 377 of the national Penal Code subjects same-sex sexual acts (regardless of whether they were consensual or done in private) to a term of imprisonment from ten years to life. Transgender people are subject to police harassment and sexual assault, and their gender is not recognised by the state. During the country's long military dictatorship under the authoritarian State Peace and Development Council it was difficult to obtain accurate information about the legal or social status of LGBT Burmese citizens. Following the 2011–2015 Myanmar political reforms, improvements in media and civil freedoms have allowed LGBT people to gain more visibility and support in the country. Despite the 2015 electoral victory of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, which promised improved human rights, there have been no changes to anti-LGBT laws.
Laws regarding same-sex sexual activity
Section 377 of the Penal Code prohibits same sex sexual activity and sodomy. Alongside fines, the prescribed punishment is ten years to life imprisonment, although the law has not been strictly enforced. In 2001, the exile group called the All Burma Students' Democratic Front voted to have the law repealed. This was seen as a victory by the Committee for Lesbigay Rights in Burma, although such a change was considered unlikely to occur given the prevailing political climate against change. LGBT people are also targeted under the "shadow law" in section 35(c) of the Police Act, which allows police to detain anyone they consider behaving suspiciously after sunset.
Other provisions of the Penal Code can also be used against LGBT people:
- Sections 269 & 270 make it a crime for a person to negligently spread a sexually transmitted disease.
- Section 290 makes it a crime to commit "a public nuisance", not specified in the code, with fines up to two hundred rupees.
- Sections 292 – 294 make it a crime to make, sell, or distribute "obscene" material or songs to adults or minors and to engage in any obscene acts in public.
- Section 372 prohibits buying or selling a prostitute under the age of eighteen or using a prostitute to engage in illicit sexual relations.
- Section 377- Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term for which shall not be less than 2 years, but may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to a fine that shall not be less than four hundred rupees but may extend to one thousand rupees.
- Section 469 prohibits engaging in any marriage ceremony absent of a legal marriage.
- Section 5(j) of the Emergency Provisions Act prohibits anything that might affect the morality of an individual, society or the public in a negative way.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Myanmar does not recognise same-sex marriages or civil unions. In 2014 a Burmese same-sex couple drew widespread media attention for holding an unofficial wedding ceremony after having lived together for 10 years. It also triggered a backlash from social conservatives, who queried why the anti-homosexuality laws were not being enforced against them.
Myanmar does not allow people to change the gender assigned to them at birth. Trans people in Myanmar are subject to rape, mistreatment or extortion by police, and are often targeted using the "shadow law" in section 35(c) of the Police Act. Generally there are only three "respectable" career options open to transgender Burmese: beautician, fashion designer or nat kadaw ("spirit wife" or spirit medium). As a nat kadaw, LGBT people can be afforded respect and veneration otherwise denied to them by Burmese society.
During the military regime, no organised LGBT political or social life was able to exist. Burma's social mores about human sexuality have been described as being "extremely conservative". Gay men are stigmatised, especially if they are living with HIV/AIDS. In the local Buddhist tradition, those born LGBT are perceived as facing punishment for sins committed in a past life. Historically the combination of official homophobia, limited public awareness and lack of community role models have rendered LGBT people invisible in Burmese society.
Aung Myo Min is an openly gay man and has been involved in the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF). In 2005 he talked about his coming out process and the homophobia that exists, even with the pro-democracy opposition. Today he is involved with exile Burma human rights organisations, including the Campaign for Lesbigay Rights in Burma.
Despite their criminalisation, LGBT people have become more visible in Burma, especially after the political reforms. Gay and lesbian couples freely cohabit in major cities like Yangon and Mandalay, though they are not legally allowed to marry. The increased media freedom has also allowed journalists to report on the gay and lesbian community. Same-sex couples have also been able to celebrate ceremonial marriages in major cities without any legal persecution.
In 2003, FocusAsia (Star TV) aired a story about the nat kadaws. The "Utopia Guide to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar & Vietnam" references "transgender shaman channeling spirits at Myanmar sacred festivals."
Burma also celebrated its first gay pride in several cities around the country in 2012, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. In 2018, officials gave permission for a public pride party. Almost 6000 people showed up to the event, a rise from previous times.  The number rose further to 10,000 the next day. 
Notable LGBT people
- Myo Ko Ko San - First Burmese transgender model, LGBT rights activist and beauty pageant queen.
- Shin Thant - Leading LGBT rights activist
- Okkar Min Maung - Burmese actor, model and singer. 
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Penalty: Up to life imprisonment, rarely enforced)|
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment only|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|
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