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.
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