Academic and gay circles in Myanmar are currently in mourning after a gay librarian left a heartbreaking Facebook message online before committing suicide this past weekend.
25-year-old Kyaw Zin Win was a librarian who worked at the Mynmar Imperial University. According to a Facebook message left this past Sunday, the day of his death, Kyaw Zin was forced to come out by his employers there. He was also mocked by colleagues regularly, which he showed through group chat screenshots.
“We should send him to the army,” one co-worker.
“Don’t become an imbecile like [Kyaw Zin],” said another.
In the Facebook message, Kyaw Zin stated that he was scared of and hurt by his coworkers.
“I bear [the pain] patiently, wishing it would end soon.”
Kyaw Zin also took the time to condemn his home country for how it treats its minorities and individual citizens. He hoped not to be reborn in a country that “mocks the existence and identity of an individual being.”
“Myanmar is a two-faced country that favors those in higher positions and bars the truth from being celebrated.”
Kyaw Zin then expressed love for his friends and asked his family to “understand why I made this choice.”
“I tried but could no longer bear the bullying. I love you, grandma and aunt. I was afraid to do this, but I am afraid of people more. Forgive me and remember me.”
After Kyaw Zin’s death, the Myanmar Imperial University released a statement expressing grief over the passing. The school’s Facebook page also stated that it “will do justice for [him], whatever it takes.”
In the vein, the school has suspended three employees believed to be involved in the harassment and bullying. An investigation is also being conducted around the situation.
In addition, several Facebook users in Myanmar updated their profile pictures to be a black circle with a rainbow edge. This photo is to show support and grief over Kyaw Zin’s death.
Unfortunately, anti-gay bullying is common in Myanmar as homosexuality is still illegal in the country. As with many countries in the world, this anti-gay law is thanks to British colonial rules that have yet to be overturned.
That said, Kyaw Zin’s tragic passing may end up doing good. A rally is being planned for later this week to call for anti-discrimination legislation and the decriminalization of homosexuality. Perhaps this unheard cry for help will end the need for others.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, you can contact the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1(800)273-8255. In addition, you can download the SPEAK suicide prevention app for free.