On February 1st, 2021, the Myanmar military detained the nation’s leaders and robbed the future of Myanmar by performing a coup d'etat. With this recent military coup in Myanmar, millions of Burmese people participated in anti military protests. Months later, the junta had started killing and detaining people including underaged kids and youths, but the beliefs of the citizens of Myanmar did not change. With the help of the National Unity Government (NUG), local peoples' defense forces were formed, and of course, all of women and LGBTIQ+ community participated in fighting for democracy.
Even though the goal is to get democracy back, unfortunately, there is one common ground between the junta and the anti coup public. It is sexism and homophobia.
In this article, we can try to understand about Myanmar’s coup and related discriminations that affects and hinders the success of obtaining democracy. Since creating a developed civilization is the main goal of our world, learning about history or present political changes would surely help.
For centuries, women and LGBTQIA+ has always played a huge role in political events but still they did not get the credit they deserve.
Even the most influential and powerful women in Myanmar cannot get away with sexism. For example,Ei Thinzar Maung who was listed in 100 Most Influential People by TIMES news, an activist on ethnic minority rights, who is now the youngest ever woman minister in the parliament of National Unity Government (NUG) has been antagonized with sexism. For centuries, women in Myanmar have been treated as inferior gender, now the general public fails to recognize women as an important part of the change in politics. Sexual objectifications and degradations of women were shown frequently on comics, news and even in protest banners.
Not to mention that LGBTQIA+ community faces social discriminations about their sexualities as well.
Homophobic slurs were used against the miiitery with means to “degrade” them when in fact, it is just pure homophobia. Very often, the sexualities of women and LGBTIQ were used as jokes to insult or to be used as objectification. In the following picture, a man was holding a banner that said, “Dear local PDF (member of people defense force), please win this revolution and I will marry you off with my sister”. This sentence alone indicates that even with the common goal of winning the revolution, there is still the rooted patriarchal mindset that makes the society think that women are properties of the men in the household when in fact, countless women are fighting for democracy as much as the men.
On the other hand, the junta also perpetuates domination upon women and LGBTIQ+ community by sexually assaulting them, especially transgender women.
The atrocities are worse in the rural and other states, the junta kills men in villages and rapes women, taking their children as slaves. With those circumstances, we can understand that women and LGBTIQ+ people are already enduring sexism and homophobia. Now with the ongoing coup, both communities are forced to not only try to stay alive during a civil war, but also try to not face sexual assaults.
We can now see that even revolutional women and LGBT people face sexism and people need to change.
The Myanmar Junta is deeply rooted in sexism but so is the general public, and that is why we must do better. There have been several hate speeches from the public that encourage sexual attacks towards the women family members of the junta. Such commentaries promoting rape culture and misogyny are very dengerous and should not be accepted in any way.
To conclude, we must know that all revolutionary changes cannot happen without women or the LGBT community. Political changes happen for a reason and are meant to overthrow any type of injustice,and sexism is one of them. In order to actually create equal and developed societies, the whole world especially Myanmar citizens, must do better to abolish patriarchy to give our generation a better future.