Hundreds of people in Burma attended the country’s first public gay pride event to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
There was no street parade, but around 400 people attended an evening of music and talks held in the ballroom of a hotel in Rangoon.
“In the past we didn’t dare do this. We’ve been preparing to hold this event for a long time… and today, finally it happened,” gay make-up artist Min-Min told the AFP news agency.
While gay relationships are still illegal in Burma, the law is not always strictly enforced. It is a conservative, mainly Buddhist country where many gay men and women feel they cannot come out.
Activists say discrimination is still rife and they want homosexuality to be declared legal.
“In the past a crowd of people at this kind of event would be assumed to be against the government, taking part in something like a protest,” Aung Myo Min of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma told Channel News Asia. Now people “dare to reveal their sexual orientation,” he said.