When it comes to gay visitors, Thailand doesn’t flinch. Two men sharing a hotel room on a tropical isle? No problem. Foreign women strolling hand in hand? Fine.
For tourists, Thailand can feel like an oasis of gay acceptance in a world that’s often hostile to same-sex romance. This vibe is nurtured at the highest levels: the government actually runs a campaign called “Go Thai, Be Free” to attract spending gay travellers.
The fact is – not many places in the world could beat Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia as gay travellers friendly and purpose of the article is just to make potential travellers aware of issues facing local LGBT population in Thailand.
Being LGBT in Asia: Thailand Country Report
- Even though Thailand’s Constitution and numerous ratified human rights resolutions and conventions prohibit discrimination, specific laws that refer to sexual orientation and gender identity do not exist
- Sodomy was decriminalized in 1956.
Homosexuality is no longer considered a mental illness by the Ministry of Health; however, trans-sexuality is still pathologized
A proposal to include sexual identities under the anti-discrimination clause of the 2007 constitution was rejected.
Trans-gender individuals cannot change their gender on identity papers.
Existing marriage laws specifically reference only men and women, rejecting a traditional interpretation of gender and family structure.
All biological males in Thailand are required to serve in the military. However, trans-gender women, including any biological males who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) or any form of surgery to physically appear more feminine, are not allowed to serve in the military. Until 2011, they were given a letter of dismissal stating ‘Permanent Mental Disorder’ as the cause. After much lobbyingby the LGBT community, the letter now states the cause as “Gender Identity Disorder.”
Legal and policy reform is seen as difficult both because lawmakers tend to be conservative, and because the constitution and country’s laws are seen as sacred.
Here is the link to the report in full: