Number 377 in Burmese
Section 377 is the main law used to repress the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community.
A 150 years old law!
The law date from 1860 when the country was part of the British Empire. Governments and dictatorships that followed kept it as a tool against homosexual and trans-sexual population especially. It frames:
Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
This law is rarely used as such, but it is still a tool in the hands of those who hold the power to harass the transgender community specifically.
Since the change of Government and a new freedom of speech, the presence of the gay community in the media is more open. Facing a conservative society, it however seeks to change discriminatory attitudes.
Same-sex marriage unofficial in traditional clothes, in Rangoon in 2012 – Source: Facebook/Phone-Myat Htoo
Other laws can be used to oppress the LGBT community, as articles 269 and 270 of the penal code, which punished “for negligence in spreading sexually transmitted diseases”, article 290 to “commit public nuisance” or yet section 5 of the emergency law which prohibits all activities affecting “morality” of an individual or a group of people.
DVB debate TV show discussed the topic in 2014.