Rita Khin

Rita Khin is a photographer based in Yangon. For Framing the Transition, Rita decided to do a series of portraits of transgender women from throughout Myanmar.

“Gay rights is a brand new topic of discussion here,” she explains, “so there is endless work to do.” Cultural and religious norms in Myanmar take a very dim view of gay rights. “Our Buddhism sees being gay as a form of karmic punishment. You are gay in this life because of your sins in past lives.” There is still a colonial-era law in Myanmar’s books that can punish same-sex acts with up to ten years in prison.

Now community organizations are proposing a new anti-discrimination law that would include specific provisions against discrimination on the grounds of gender expression or sexual orientation. Rita realizes change will not come overnight, “but if the transition in Myanmar is to be successful, it has to be based on an inclusive society.”

Rita speaks with a tremendous passion about LGBT rights, and justly so, for she recently came out as a lesbian. She concludes:

I hope the viewers of my portraits might find parts of me in them too. As one who is reluctant and sometimes scared, yet full of pride for her portrait subjects, and looking forward to be proud just like them for who she really is.

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