Thailand, Asia

Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country in terms of total area. About 80% of the population is ethnically Thais, 10% is of Chinese origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay. Thailand is one of the most devoutly Buddhist countries in the world. The national religion is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by more than 95% of all Thais. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, as the ruling monarch. The King has reigned for more than 60 years, making him the longest reigning monarch. The King is recognized as the Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, the Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and Defender of the Faith.
Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been ruled by a European power. The current 2010 political infighting has destabilized the country.

There are no laws against gays or lesbians in Thailand. However, there are some Buddhist laws that prohibit openly gay men to enter monkhood. Transsexuals (known as Kathoey) are imbued in Thai culture via television and cabaret shows such as the famous Calypso performances in Bangkok. Thailand has an (almost) annual gay pride events in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chang Mai and Phuket. The health authorities work together with the gay community to promote HIV education and prevention. Gay and transvestite actors also play key roles in Thai movies and soap operas. 


News & Reports:


Thailand’s Cabinet approves bills granting legal status to same-sex unions

Bangkok — Thailand’s Cabinet has approved two draft bills that would give same-sex unions legal status similar to that of heterosexual marriages. The draft Civil Partnership Act and amendments of the Civil and Commercial Code will be sent to Parliament soon for approval, deputy government spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek said after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting. The Civil… Read more »

Thailand Leads Way in Southeast Asia With Same-Sex Union Bill

Thailand is set to be the first Southeast Asian country to legalize same-sex unions after the government approved a bill that will now head for parliament approval to become law. “This is an important step for Thailand in creating equality for everyone and guaranteeing rights for same-sex couples to start a family,” Rachada Dhnadirek, spokeswoman… Read more »

LGBTI activists in Thailand submit petition for gender rights panel

Campaigners call on the Thai government to establish a panel to monitor gender justice LGBTI rights activists in Thailand have submitted a petition calling for a panel that will conduct monitoring for gender justice. Kittinan Tharamathat, president of the LGBT group Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand, submitted the petition with human rights activists, Nada Chaijit… Read more »

Thailand elects first transgender member of parliament

Filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit was elected to the House of Representatives Thailand on Sunday (24 March) elected its first transgender member of the House of Representatives. It was the first general elections since a military coup in 2014. Filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit won a seat for the Future Forward Party (FFP). FFP, the biggest challenge to the… Read more »

All aboard Bangkok’s first pride cruise

Southeast Asia’s LGBT party capital just went next level Bangkok next month will launch the country’s first LGBTI pride cruise. Setting sail on 3 March, the boat party along the Chao Praya river will feature performances and international DJs. Pangina Heals—a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race Thailand—is also slated to perform. What’s more, Bangkok Indie… Read more »

Asia’s largest ever LGBTI art exhibition to open in Bangkok

Spectrosynthesis II will open later this year with 200 works from more than 50 artists Thai capital Bangkok will host the largest ever exhibition of Asian LGBTI art later this year. Hong Kong-based charity, the Sunpride Foundation, has curated more than 200 works from over 50 artists in the region. The exhibition, titled Spectrosynthesis II,… Read more »

Thailand cabinet approves the first draft of same-sex civil union bill

What does it mean for the local LGBTI community? Thailand is moving forward in recognizing same-sex couples. Today the cabinet approved the first draft of a bill regulating civil partnerships. This paves the way for Thailand to become the first country in Asia to endorse same-sex marriage. In the current version of the bill, same-sex… Read more »

Thailand Considers Same-Sex Partnership Bill

Bangkok — Thailand’s government is considering a proposed Life Partnership Bill, which would guarantee same-sex couples rights similar to couples in traditional marriages, including the use of one’s spouse’s surname, property rights and the right to end the partnership. The move is seen as a milestone in efforts to improve legal rights for those in… Read more »

2018 Asia Pacific HERO Awards celebrate LGBTI advocacy

LGBTI rights activists and HIV campaigners from the Asia-Pacific gather in Bangkok to recognition for decades of advocacy work LGBTI rights workers, campaigners for HIV prevention and community health workers were honored at the 2018 Asia Pacific HERO Awards ceremony on Friday (30 November). The awards gala, which was scheduled to coincide with World AIDS… Read more »

Thailand’s lesbian tennis player wins big

Luksika Kumkhum, who just won the Mumbai Open, is one of only four out LGBTI professional tennis players Thailand’s only openly gay professional tennis player, Luksika Kumkhum, is making an impact at home and abroad after a big win on Sunday (4 November). She beat Russia’s Irina Khromacheva, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, in a nearly four-hour… Read more »

Thailand marching towards recognizing same-sex unions by the end of 2018

Thailand’s cabinet will consider the Life Partnership bill later this month, possibly making Thailand the first place in Asia to recognize same-sex unions Thailand’s military government is holding public consultations on same-sex unions and may pass legislation before the end of the year. The Life Partnership bill could be considered by cabinet by the end… Read more »

This Is What It’s Like To Travel As A Gay Asian Man

As a gay Asian man who works in the tourism industry and loves to travel himself, Romey Louangvilay’s goal is to make travel more inclusive for everyone. A finalist in Forbes’ 2016 Top 30 Under 30 in Marketing & Advertising, Louangvilay is head of communications, overseeing public relations, social media and influencer marketing, at a… Read more »

Thailand introduces landmark same-sex civil partnerships bill

Thailand’s government has introduced a bill to legalise same-sex civil partnerships. The landmark move would make Thailand only the second country in Asia – after Taiwan – to officially recognise same-sex couples. ? Last year, the highest court in Taiwan stated that restricting unions to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional, and ruled that same-sex marriage would… Read more »

This Amazing Commercial Uses Gay High School Drama To Sell Lip Balm

“Why don’t you take care of yourself?” Advertising has opened up to LGBT representation worldwide, but a lip balm commercial out of Thailand is taking it to the next level: In it, a teen confronts another boy, claiming he’s broken his sister’s heart. KA Lip Care But the boy is stunned when his rival leans… Read more »

No one is worth more or less than another. We are all equal as humans.

For as long as she can remember, Cheekii has always known that she is a girl. Back in her village in Chanthaburi Province in eastern Thailand, people discriminate against transgender women. People talked about her and questioned her identity. But Cheekii didn’t rise to their provocation. “My grandmother was my only supporter, ever since I… Read more »

Coming to terms

Scholars discuss the issue of LGBTI acceptance and gender identity in the predominantly Muslim deep South, where tradition, religion and the restive situation influence people’s lifestyle and belief A man with short hair — wearing a sarong around his chest the way a woman would — is seen frolicking alone happily on a crowded beach.… Read more »

Gay Chinese tourists flock to Thailand for fun, acceptance

Phuket, Thailand — Bathed in a pink spotlight, the cabaret singer at Phuket’s ZAG bar lip-syncs the top notes of a popular Mandarin love song, delighting the crowd of gay Chinese tourists who have escaped judgement at home for sexual freedom in Thailand. While the song, “The Moon Represents My Heart”, is a hit with… Read more »

Staggering amounts of US LGBT discrimination revealed

One in four LGBT people in the US have experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation, new research has revealed. The survey, conducted by the Centre for American Progress, included episodes of discrimination which took place during the previous year, both at work and in public. In the workplace, between 11 percent and 28 percent… Read more »

Bangkok plans to ban all street food by year’s end

The Thai capital’s world famous street food scene may soon be a thing of the past. Authorities say they want to impose order and cleanliness, but for many street food is a part of the culture. All street food stalls will be cleared from Bangkok’s roads by the end of the year in a bid… Read more »

Circuit Parties Began Fading in North America a Decade Ago—Why Are They So Hot in Asia?

On Saturday, hordes of gay men and other dance lovers will descend upon a club space in Manhattan for the Black Party, an edgier, kinkier underground variant of the “circuit party,” a gay institution that has, for better or worse, defined a certain strain of macho, drug-embracing, sex-positive party culture since their initial appearance around… Read more »

Gay couple win high-profile surrogacy battle in Thailand

A court in Thailand has awarded custody of a baby to a same-sex couple after a high-profile custody battle with a Thai surrogate mother. The Thai surrogate handed over the baby girl to Gordon Lake and Manuel Santos after her birth last year – but ten days later, she refused to sign the documentation needed… Read more »

Review: First Queer Voices from Thailand by Peter A. Jackson

Our Hong Kong correspondent Nigel Collett shares his thoughts on the recently published First Queer Voices from Thailand: Uncle Go’s Advice Columns for Gays, Lesbians and Kathoeys In 2008, the publication by Hong Kong University Press of Helen Hok-Sze Leung’s Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong marked the start of what was to become… Read more »

Tangerine Walk-In Counselling

Email to Richard Ammon: I assume you have seen the news artilces on Google from last year? Also I assume you are asking about the Tangerine Clinic here in Bangkok. Here’s their English language website: Tangerine Walk-in As well, here’s a bio of their clinic director, Frits van Griensven: World Heath Organization If you have… Read more »

Thailand Opens Clinic For Transgender People

Thailand opened its first clinic for transgender people in December. The Tangerine Community Health Center is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other development groups. It offers psychosocial counseling, hormone administration and pap smears. U.S. Ambassador Glyn T. Davis attended the clinic’s opening in Bangkok. “The Tangerine Center will provide… Read more »

A New Gay Webseries That is Worth Your Health

A New Gay Webseries That is Worth Your Health Gayok Bangkok The Series, a webseries following the lives of six diverse gay men living in Bangkok and their drama – relationship, career, family and, most of all, sexual health – in a manner that Asian gay men can truly relate with will premiere on February… Read more »

A Dream Deferred: A Look At Transgender Discrimination In Thailand

Sadly, visibility doesn’t always align with formal acceptance. Bangkok, Thailand – Warat “Bai Thong” Tanasanti was a brilliant student who dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Her dreams came to a screeching halt, however, when she realized that this wasn’t possible. The reason for the 24-year old’s struggle has nothing to do with her qualifications or… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

How Thailand Became a Global Gender-Change Destination

Beny and Yael Gangian spent more than $30,000 to help their transgender daughter Eimy complete her long-sought-for change of sexual identity. For the Israeli family, who used money saved for 18 years, borrowed from a bank and donated by family and friends, there was only one place they felt would give immediate, affordable and high-quality… Read more »

Two-Faced Thailand: The Ugly Side Of ‘Asia’s Gay Capital’

The country welcomes LGBT tourists with open arms, yet it still lacks policies to protect basic human rights. This is the final part of a 10-part series on LGBT rights in Southeast Asia, which uncovers the challenges facing the LGBT community in the region and highlights the courageous work of activists there. *** At Wat… Read more »

Queer Southeast Asia: Recognition, Respect & Legitimacy

Over the past few decades, diverse new cultures and communities based on same-sex preference and transgender identity have become increasingly prominent in all the countries of Southeast Asia. Across the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of region, and despite the distinctive colonial and semicolonial political histories of the modern states of Southeast Asia (see Jackson… Read more »

Thailand’s equality laws come into effect

Discrimination against LGBT is now punishable by law in the country Wednesday (9 September) saw Thailand’s first discrimination laws specifically protecting LGBT people come into effect. The new 2015 Gender Equality Act, which was passed in March, punishes discrimination against gender identity or sexual orientation with up six months in jail and a fine of… Read more »

A man in full

For women wanting to transition to men, a long and often painful process awaits. About two years after first visiting a doctor, Jimmy had his breasts removed. “Was I scared? I was horrified. But I told myself I have to be a man about it,” the 32-year-old, who was born female, said. The surgery went… Read more »

Bangkok’s first Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

The Bangkok Gay and Lesbian Film Festival brings together 15 LGBT films from around the world next week The festival boasts a mix of dramas and documentaries from Thailand, Southeast Asia and beyond. It runs from next Friday to June 14 at the Esplanade Cineplex Batchada. The festival will feature 15 films from 12 different… Read more »

Junta to pass law banning homosexuals from monkhood

The junta cabinet has approved a bill on religion which can be used to prosecute, with jail terms, people who propagate ‘incorrect’ versions of Buddhist doctrines or cause harm to Buddhism. The bill also posts jail terms specifically for homosexual monks. In recent decades, although Theravada Buddhism, the prominent Buddhist sect in mainland Southeast Asia,… Read more »

World’s First Three-Way Gay Marriage Takes Place In Thailand

Valentine’s Day 2015 will be infamous for more than the release of the film version of 50 Shades of Grey. It also witnessed the world’s first recorded polygamous gay marriage, as Joke, 29, Bell, 21 and Art, 26 tied the knot. Watchers of The Hangover Part 2 will not be surprised to learn that the… Read more »

Families must end LGBTI violence and improve rights in Asia

Bangkok (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Some of those most guilty of violence and discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people in Asia are their families, which must instead play a key role in improving LGBTI rights, activists from the region said. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) in Asia face the threat of… Read more »

The bitter truth behind Thailand’s gay-friendly image

Deutsche Presse-Agentur – The latest research suggests more than half of us believe homosexuality is morally wrong – a prejudice that’s reflected in the law In Bangkok’s lively Silom district, customers pile into a small, noisy gay bar on a busy Saturday night. Chakgai Jermkwan and his partner Sean L’Estrange co-own the popular venue, which… Read more »

Thai Constitution’s Draft Would Protect LGBT Rights

Bangkok (AP) — Gay rights activists are welcoming a clause in a draft of Thailand’s new constitution that is aimed at protecting the rights of gay and transgender people. The Constitution Drafting Committee, a group hand-picked by the military junta to draft a new charter after last year’s coup, this week added the wording that… Read more »

Thailand to recognize ‘third gender’ in new constitution: panel

Bangkok (Reuters) – Thailand’s constitution will include the term “third gender” for the first time, a member of a panel drafting a new charter said on Thursday, in a move to empower transgender and gay communities and ensure them fairer legal treatment. Thailand has a large gay community, but remains largely conservative, although homosexual, transgender… Read more »

Thai junta’s surrogacy bill to ban LGBT and singles from having their own children

Takato Mitsunaga With no people’s representatives in parliament, the junta has attempted to pass several quick bills without people’s participation. Among them are three controversial gender-related bills, opposed by women and LGBT rights groups. Following bills on Civil Partnerships and Gender Equality (see Prachatai’s reports on these), the junta is aiming to pass another bill.… Read more »