Khin Cham Myae Thu is a judo black belt whose free self-defence lessons in Yangon have become very popular with the local LGBT Community.
Myanmar’s LGBT Community is openly mocked and same-sex relations are criminalised.
In contrast, elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong has begun granting visas to international dependents in same-sex partnerships – and Taiwan has gone further and legalised gay marriage.
Myanmar’s politicians barely mention the issue of same-sex relations and the nation’s LGBT activists face significant cultural and political obstacles.
But an unlikely hero has emerged, a woman who helps the Community fight back against discrimination. Khin Cham Myae Thu, better known as Gloria Judo, is one of Myanmar’s few female judo black belts. Countless gay men have stumbled through her door to work through the trauma of being targeted by homophobes, says the 160cm-tall (5ft 3 in) 36-year-old. They attend her free weekend self-defence lessons to gain confidence to defend themselves.
A ray of sunshine in an otherwise sad and backward state of affairs!
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