GLBT rights activists from Burma have spoken about the plight of GLBTs under the country’s totalitarian regime at an event marking International Day Against Homophobia across the border in Thailand.

One of the participants told local media that Burmese security forces “extort money from us, bar us from public service, and even in hospitals, we are badly discriminated against”.

“Even though International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is being celebrated in over 140 countries around the world, we aren’t allowed to join with others in Burma,” she said.

Others complained about the treatment of GLBTs by police and in popular culture.

“If a homosexual person is cast in a movie, he or she just plays the role of a clown … No one shows them any respect,” one said.

Another spoke about the fate of a young gay man who had failed to pay protection money to police.

“He was raped by nine policemen through the whole night, but no legal action was ever taken against the perpetrators,” he said.

Police use a vague law banning “suspicious behaviour” to harass GLBTs while another law punishes sex between men with from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Burma is the only majority Buddhist country in Southeast Asia that still outlaws homosexuality.

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