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LGBT IN ASIA: THAILAND

 

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.

20160412_thai gay holiday - bangkok - babylon sauna


 

UNDP, USAID

Being LGBT in Asia: Thailand Country Report

Bangkok

 

This report reviews the legal and social environment faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Thailand. It encompasses the finndings of the Thailand National LGBT Community Dialogue held in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand and additionally includes findings from a desk review, additional interviews, and analysis of
published literature on LGBT issues in and about Thailand.
The National Dialogue was attended by 45 participants, including representatives of LGBT organizations from throughout Thailand, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, donor agencies, universities, non-governmental human rights institutions, legal aid organizations, and civil society organizations. The Dialogue was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United States Agency
for International Development (USAID).
This report is a product of a broader initiative entitled ‘Being LGBT in Asia: A Participatory Review and Analysis of the Legal and Social Environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender (LGBT) Persons and Civil Society.’ Launched on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2012, ‘Being LGBT in Asia’ is a first-of-its-kind Asia-wide learning
report undertaken with Asian grass-roots LGBT organizations and community leaders alongside UNDP and USAID.
With a focus on eight priority countries – Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – the effort examines LGBT lived experiences from a development and rights perspective.

FINDINGS

This report provides an overview of LGBT rights in Thailand as related broadly to laws and policies, social and cultural attitudes, and religion; and more specifically to employment and housing, education and young people, health and well-being, family and society, media and information communication technology (ICT), and the organizational capacity of LGBT organizations.
A summary of the overall context for LGBT rights in Thailand is as follows:
National laws and policies:
  • 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 lobbying

    by 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:

https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1861/Being_LGBT_in_Asia_Thailand_Country_Report.pdf

 

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