Connect with us

Miscellaneous

LGBTQ activists in Myanmar join protests against military coup

The issue of LGBT rights was never a priority, even for the civilian government.

Published

on

Drag queens protest in Yangon, Myanmar. (Photo via LGBTQ activists in Myanmar)

YANGON, Myanmar – LGBTQ activists in Myanmar have joined the growing protest movement against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi and her democratically elected government.

Min Khant Zin, a drag queen who works at a gay bar in Yangon, the country’s largest city, told the Blade that he and his friends received a lot of media attention after they decided to participate in the protests while in drag. Khant Zin, who identifies as queer, added this decision was deliberate.

“Most of the openly gay people in Myanmar are makeup artists and cross-dressers. They do not stand out in the crowds when they wear female costumes, but someone with drag costumes will,” said Khant Zin. “This is my intention.”

“We want people around the world to know about the LGBT community’s contributions for the fight for democracy,” added Khant Zin.

Saw Zin Maung Soe is an LGBTQ activist who founded CAN Myanmar, a civil rights organization that is based in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city.

Maung Soe told the Blade that around 100 members — gay men and lesbians from different socio-economic backgrounds, gender queer people, straight allies, doctors and engineers — participated in a protest that took place in Mandalay on Feb. 8. Maung Soe said some of them were part of a group of protesters against whom the police used water canons and rubber bullets.

“We have to be cautious because we look different and are easily noticeable,” Maung Soe told the Blade. “We are worried we might be targeted by the police forces and counter protesters.”

“We are all coming to the protests to support the greater cause,” added Maung Soe.

Khant Sithu, a Burmese college student in New York who identifies themselves as LGBTQ, is among those who have gathered in front of the U.N. to protest the coup.

“Regardless if you are gay or straight, we all vote for the political parties we like,” Sithu told the Blade. “People in Myanmar have overwhelmingly voted for Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party. Now, the military dislikes the situation and detain the civilian leaders.”

LGBTQ activists in Mandalay, Myanmar, protest against the coup that toppled Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
(Photo via LGBTQ activists in Myanmar)

The coup toppled Suu Kyi and her government less than three months after her National League for Democracy party trounced the military’s Union Solidarity and Development Party in Parliamentary elections. 

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, was under house arrest for nearly 15 years until her release in 2010. Suu Kyi in 2016 became Myanmar’s state counselor, which is roughly equivalent to prime minister.

Suu Kyi, who has faced global criticism over her response to the plight of the Rohingya, has been charged with illegally possessing walkie-talkies. The U.S. is among the countries that have imposed sanctions against the Burmese military over the coup.

Consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized in Myanmar under Section 377 of the country’s Criminal Code.

Activists said Suu Kyi’s government made an unofficial pledge to amend or repeal Article 377 and other anti-LGBTQ laws during its second term in office that would have ended in 2025.

Maung Sue told the Blade there was not “much progress for LGBT rights under Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD government’s administration in the last five years.”

“We LGBT activists got invited to observe the parliamentary sessions and we were asked to participate in policy dialogue,” said Maung Soe. “The issue of LGBT rights was never a priority, even for the civilian government.”

A group of activists have nevertheless released a statement that criticizes the coup and demands the release of Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders who have been detained.

“We LGBTI people in Myanmar demand the release of elected civilian leaders in detention, the cancellation of the new Administration Council formed with military officials and pro-military persons, the lifting of the military’s intervention against convening of the new Parliament with elected members of Parliament,” reads the statement.

“Since we, LGBTI people, have a history of active participation in past political activism, we want to announce that in this military coup, we will stand with the people and the government employees who are starting the civil disobedience campaigns,” it adds.

Yuya, a transgender activist who spearheaded the letter, described it as a “statement by the LGBT people in Myanmar.”

“We are human beings and we are citizens,” Yuya told the Blade. “We have not been recognized because of the system, but we have tried to correct it. We do understand that we should not expect things to change 100 percent overnight, but we for sure do not want things to go back to ground zero and start again from scratch.”

“So, like others, we participate in civil disobedience movements and others … we have many things to contribute to it, because we are all concerned,” added Yuya. “Our leaders (referring to Suu Kyi) have fought for us. They were imprisoned for years in order for us to be here today. This is the time for us to contribute what we could for all of us again, so that generations may not suffer human rights abuses and this coup shall be the last one we experience.”

LGBTQ activists in Mandalay, Myanmar, protest against the coup that toppled Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
(Photo via LGBTQ activists in Myanmar)
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Community Services - PSA

Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation summer classes

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn something new, make new friends & discover new talents! In-person/virtual classes begin May 30

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – LA County Parks is here to help you create lifelong memories this Summer. Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill or language, pick up a hobby or instrument, or simply be more active, we offer a class for everyone!  
 
Sign up for a class with friends at a park near you or join a class virtually from the comfort of your own home. Choose from a variety of special interest classes for the whole family. 

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn something new, make new friends and discover new talents!

In-person and virtual classes for all ages begin May 30, 2022

REGISTER ONLINE
 
Check out some of these class options and join our vibrant community today! 

  • Martial Arts including Family Kung Fu, San Do Kai Karate, Tai Chi Chuan for Seniors  
  • Exercise and Fitness including Kayaking, 60 Minute Pedometer (Steps) Challenge, Zumba, Dancerobics ️  
  • Performing Arts, Music and Dance including Acting, Musical Instruments including Violin and Piano/Keyboard, Dance Classes including Ballet, Line Dance, Tap, Afro-Brazilian and Ballroom 🎭💃  
  • Arts and Culture including Art and Drawing, Hand Sewing, Watercolor Painting 🎨 
  • Computers and Technology including a Father’s Day Robotics Workshop amd  RoboPets Robotics Camp 👾 
  • Sports including Tennis, Badminton, Baseball, Table Tennis🎾
  • Health and Wellness including Sound Bowl Healing Meditation, Yin Yang Yoga, Seven Steps to Being your Best 🌱 
  • Special Interest Classes including Chess, Food Composting, Exploring Ecology and Native Plants in Los Angeles, Knitting & Crocheting

BROWSE ALL CLASSES & SIGN UP TODAY!


Our quick and easy 24/7 online registration system Active Net allows you to manage everyone’s schedule through a single household account. Sign up for Summer Classes for yourself, partner and children from your smartphone or computer. To learn more about Active Net, visit parks.lacounty.gov/reserve.

Follow LA County Parks on social media: Facebook @parks.lacounty.gov and Twitter/Instagram/TikTok @lacountyparks. Share your experience using #LearnSomethingNew at #LACountyParks.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

Continue Reading

Community Services - PSA

MASSIVE bonus announced for LA County Lifeguards!

Lifeguarding has historically been a well-paying job by paying over the federal & state minimum wage, with a current pay rate of $18.27

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Office (CEO) has recently announced a bonus of up to $4000 for all current and prospective pool lifeguarding staff in LA County for the remainder of 2022. The $4000 is a cumulative amount that is based on total hours worked (100 hours – $1,000, 300 hours – $1,000, 500 hours – $1,000, 1000 hours – $1,000). 

$4000 IN BONUSES AWARDED TO CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR THE 2022 YEAR! CLAIM YOURS TODAY!

This offer is extended to not only pre-existing lifesaving staff, but to all lifesaving staff (Cadets, Lifeguard, Senior Guard, Pool Manger) who join during 2022. Even lifeguard cadets who started in 2022 qualify from the date their training started. All other staff will begin accumulating hours towards the bonus on June 1 (start of 2022 summer season) and the program will end through the end of the calendar year. 

SWIM TEST DATES AND LOCATIONS


pool buoy
Photo Credit: County of Lo Angeles

Regional Recreation Director for Aquatics, Joseph Goss said, “This massive endowment adds just another to a long list of reasons to join the LA County Aquatics team. Lifeguarding is a wonderful way to start and grow your career in emergency services, sports medicine, nursing or to climb higher and higher in LA County’s own Aquatic department.

Lifeguarding has historically been a well-paying job and continues to do so by paying over the federal and state minimum wage, with a current pay rate of $18.27. Additionally, lifeguarding provides a flexible schedule that understands that employees also have responsibilities to school and other jobs.”

For those interested, LA County Parks is still looking to hire for the Summer 2022 season for its over 30 pools and aquatic centers across LA County Parks. Interested parties can visit governmentjobs.com/careers/lacounty to apply today. 

APPLY TO BECOME A LIFEGUARD TODAY!

Continue Reading

Community Services - PSA

It’s park time! Make LA County Parks your destination this summer

Make LA County Parks your destination this summer as you explore, engage and connect through our exciting programs!

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Summer is just around the corner! Get ready to create lifelong memories with your family through LA County Parks activities, programs and events. From sports, recreation classes and aquatic programs for all ages to nature center offerings and overnight camping, there’s something for every body this summer. Join the fun starting May 30, 2022.

LEARN MORE

Check out a few of our upcoming programs!

SPORTS FOR ALL
July 9 – August 27
Times vary based on location
Program availability may vary by location
Pre-registration is required; register HERE

Youth Sports for All clinic is an 8-week skills development clinic that meets once a week for basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, table tennis and other sports. Clinics focus on building foundational skills, self-confidence and teamwork. Maximum group size is 15-youth, and a minimum enrollment of 12 youth is required for each group. Age groups are as follows: 6-8 years old (1 hour), 9-12 years old (1 hour).

EVERY BODY PLAYS DROP IN SUMMER ADVENTURE
Mondays – Fridays; 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
June 13 – August 15
Free drop-in program; no registration required

Every Body Plays is a positive space with a curriculum that is youth centered and designed for fun! Children can enjoy lunch and snack at the park with their friends and family before joining the fun at select parks, lunch will be from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm daily via a grab-n-go service delivery and snack between 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  The program provides children ages 7 thru 17 with access to caring and trained park staff who serve as mentors and lead an array of programs and activities, ranging from sports, fitness, arts and crafts, STEM, group games, story time and so much more. Every day is an adventure in LA County Parks!

AQUATICS

LEARN TO SWIM
Monday – Friday, Saturdays
June 13 – August 20
Times may vary by location, level and session
Pre-registration is required; register HERE 

LA County Aquatics’ Swim Lessons teach core swimming skills including water safety, floating and stroke technique while developing a lifelong love for the water and a lifetime of healthy habits. The program is designed to provide swimmers with a positive learning experience while steadily progressing through the core skills and strokes.  All levels are in alignment with the American Red Cross’ “Learn to Swim” Program. Additionally, 400 Learn to Swim scholarships are available on a first come, first serve basis to bring free swim lessons across LA County. Scholarships are open to youth ages 5 – 17 years of age. For more information and assistance with applying, visit the Learn to Swim Pools and Information to contact our aquatics offices Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. For more information on youth aquatics scholarships, visit the DPR Scholarship page of our website.

EVERY BODY SWIMS
Monday to Friday 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM; Saturday from 12:30 – 4:00pm
Begins June 11
Free drop-in program; No registration required


Recreational Swim is a fun and positive way to beat the heat, practice new skills, be physically active and de-stress. Rec swim also provides an opportunity to socialize and make new friends. Rec Swim starts June 11th and is Monday to Friday from 12:30pm to 2:00pm and Saturdays from 12:30pm to 4:00pm.
For a full list of additional Aquatics offerings and programs, visit our AQUATICS page.

NATURE CENTERS

SUMMER NATURE CAMPS
Dates and times vary by location
Pre-registration required. Register HERE

Summer Nature Camp provides an opportunity for outdoor adventure and exploration for youth. Camps are supervised by trained staff and children are kept in groups while practicing physical distancing and other COVID19 safety guidelines to ensure campers have fun while staying safe. Activities include nature related crafts and games, hiking adventures, cultural arts, natural history, and conservation. This camp experience is designed to promote teamwork, making new friends, building self confidence, and developing an appreciation and connection to nature.

EVERY BODY EXPLORES
Tuesdays – Fridays  11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Free drop-in program; No registration required

The Every Body Explores program provides participants of all ages an opportunity to check out a Naturalist field backpack they can use to complete self-guided activities, make observations and explore the park.

NATURE KNOWLEDGE NIGHTS
Dates vary by location 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Free drop-in program; No registration required

Spend an evening getting to know the beauty of the natural world at a Los Angeles County Nature Center. Activities vary based on topic but may include group activities, ESTEAM fundamentals, community science, nature hikes, guided tours or animal ambassador experience.

SATURDAY DISCOVERY
Every Saturday at select Nature Centers / 10:00 AM – Noon
Free drop-in program; No registration required

Each Saturday our Superintendents welcome you to Nature Center Discovery, where you’ll learn about the natural habitat around you, even meeting Animal Ambassadors native to the area!  Find a Nature Center near you HERE.

ESTEAM SUMMER CAMP
June 13 – August 19
Pre-registration required. Register HERE

LA County Parks, in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Beaches and Harbors, and Los Angeles County Public Works, is proud to announce the return of ESTEAM. Campers will connect with the outdoors and explore ESTEAM topics, all with curriculum that is inclusive and supports the development of students. ESTEAM provides campers will have fun learning through group games, arts and culture, technology, field trips, guest speakers, and project-based learning.

SUMMER CONTRACT CLASSES
Dates, times and locations vary by class
Registration required. Register HERE


We teamed up with some of the best instructors in Los Angeles to bring you hundreds of classes for all ages, levels and budgets. Take a class at your local park for some fresh air or join virtual classes from the comfort of your own home! Whether you’re looking to be more active, learn a new hobby or take up a new skill or language, we have just the class to help you and everyone in your family achieve your summer goals.

…AND MUCH MORE!

VIEW SUMMER PROGRAMS

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular