We built the relationship step by step.” Although times and technology have changed, the secrecy remains.
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He helped me set up a fake Facebook account to explore gay Yangon from my mobile phone. He asked me about my age, location and different sexual preferences such as my ‘role’. Without any sexual education offered to me by my school or my family, it was pretty overwhelming.
But soon enough I had many friends on my new Facebook account and my conversations varied from the personal to the more risqué.
“Their home is their territory, if something bad happens, I might get trouble.” Ko Kyaw Htet* is all too familiar with these kinds of problems.
“One time, the guy I met for a date stole my money,” he said. Ko Kyaw Htet said that some users with fake accounts will only show more salacious photos if money is transferred.
“I have no problem meeting dates using my real Facebook account because I am proud of who I am and being gay doesn’t harm anybody,” he said.
Alongside Facebook, the gay social media app Grindr is also starting to become a popular way for gay men to meet in Myanmar.
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And Grindr – being an internationally-known application – has presented the gay community here with one major new development: the opportunity to meet gay foreigners either living in Myanmar or passing through.
But Ko Lin Thu remains unfulfilled with these options.
I’m still not certain what dating is like in the straight community – but this was ridiculously complicated!