Thursday, November 19, 2009

Solidarity Message from Burma

Below is the solidarity message for the 2009 Manila Pride March of Aung Myo Min, an LGBT rights activist from Burma (see pic above). Aung Myo Min is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma. For more than a decade, he has been integrating LGBT rights into the mainstream human rights movement by doing education and advocacy work with Burmese migrant workers, children, youth and refugees at the Thai-Burma and India-Burma border. He has received international awards such as the 1999 Felipa De Souza award by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Honour of Courage award from the San Francisco City Board. He has also served as a representative of the International Lesbian and Gay Association - Asia (ILGA-Asia).

It is my great honor to declare my solidarity with the 2009 Pride March organized by Task Force Pride (TFP) Philippines. This event will mark a significant achievement for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) advocates in the Philippines and indeed will be a momentous occasion for all those who cherish human rights in Asia. I commend TFP and everyone who plans to take part in the march for their courage and spirit to celebrate freedom.

LGBT people suffer silently in Asia. We are not recognized or respected and we are not encouraged to express ourselves freely. Our voices are muted by our governments and by our communities—sometimes it feels as though nobody listens or accepts our choices. Community leaders draw on their interpretations of religion and traditional beliefs to reject us. Meanwhile, members of our society taunt, shame, bash and rape us.

Now we are coming out, speaking out, and making our voices heard. We are equipped with religious and traditional ideas that promote respect and tolerance. We are fighting back, organizing, and expressing who we are. We will continue to fight until everyone can hear us. We will keep fighting until they listen. We dare to fight for justice, and we support our allies who are suffering all forms of violence and discrimination in our region.

In Solidarity,

Aung Myo Min
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma

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