Myanmar university investigates suicide of gay librarian

A Myanmar university said on Wednesday it had suspended three staff while it investigates the suicide of a gay employee who said he was bullied at work in social media posts widely shared in the conservative Asian country.

Kyaw Zin Win, a librarian in his 20s, took his own life on Sunday after sharing accounts on Facebook about colleagues mocking his sexuality and forcing him to publicly admit that he was gay. Gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in jail in the Southeast Asian country, under British colonial era legislation.

The Myanmar Imperial University, a private university where Kyaw Zin Win worked, said in emailed comments that the death was a “huge tragedy” and that it had a zero tolerance policy toward discrimination in the workplace.

While 2,000 people in January attended the country’s second publicly-celebrated Pride festival in Yangon, signaling growing acceptance of LGBT+ people, gay rights campaigners said they still faces discrimination in Myanmar and across Asia.

“LGBT discrimination in the workplace is unfortunately a common practice in Myanmar,” said Juan Miguel Sanchez Marin, deputy director from the Myanmar’s LGBT+ rights group, Equality Myanmar. Read more via Reuters

Gay Myanmar man posts Facebook bullying note before taking life

ANGON: A gay Myanmar man posted a note on Facebook including screenshots of alleged homophobic bullying before taking his life, prompting activists to call Tuesday for more protection for the emerging LGBTQ community.

Same-sex relations are still officially illegal under Myanmar’s colonial-era laws, but although LGBTQ people enjoy more freedoms in the country than ever before, rights groups say homophobia and discrimination are entrenched in the socially conservative country.

Kyaw Zin Win took his life after posting a final Facebook message to his family and friends, alongside a plea “not to be reborn” in a country “where superiors oppress those under them.”

The 26-year-old librarian at Myanmar Imperial University (MIU), his profile picture black with an insignia of death, detailed how he had been bullied by colleagues.

He alleged his bosses forced him to come out at work and attached screenshots of group message chats appearing to show colleagues mocking him.

By Tuesday, the posts on Facebook – which serves as the main mode of communication in a country with low digital literacy – had been shared thousands of times, accompanied by hundreds of outraged comments.

“Words can kill people... it’s murder,” wrote Hein Aung Thu. Read more via AFP