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:

 

More support for gay and transgender communities needed in Thailand

Thailand has made strides in the fight against HIV, but must do more to directly prevent HIV transmission among men who have sex with men, transgender people, and sex workers. Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), says it is crucial that the government and healthcare providers create… Read more »

More support for gay and transgender communities needed in Thailand

Thailand has made strides in the fight against HIV, but must do more to directly prevent HIV transmission among men who have sex with men, transgender people, and sex workers. Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), says it is crucial that the government and healthcare providers create… Read more »

Thailand entices gay men for HIV testing through parties

Bangkok: Thai authorities are raising awareness about HIV and encourage testing among gay men and transgender people by embarking on new and novel campaigns that include bare-chested male models in a glitzy ballroom dancing to house music while dozens of young gay men get their blood tested. The party for gay men called TestBKK is… Read more »

Mayor blesses marriage of Thai gay couple, praises their good example

The mayor of a northeastern Thai city has officiated at a wedding between two men even though Thailand does not legally recognize marriages of same-sex couples. The marriage of Maitri Chotipinit and Chirasak Klangboriboon who have been dating for four years was blessed by Udon Thani city Mayor Itthipon Triwattanasuwan in the presence of the… Read more »

Nearly half of young gay men in Bangkok not using condoms consistently acquire HIV within five years of starting sex

Over one in five becomes HIV positive in five years even with 100% attempted condom use, study finds A survey of young gay men and transgender women in Bangkok has found that HIV incidence is running at 9% a year in those who don’t use condoms consistently – and 2% a year in those who… Read more »

Bangkok HIV Foundation launches new social campaign to support gay men with HIV in Thailand

Bangkok – A voluntary organization working with people living with HIV is embarking on a new online campaign to help build supportive social environments and combat HIV discrimination against gay, transgender men and women in Thailand, reports GayAsia News.com. The HIV Foundation Thailand begins its new online campaign called “You are Not Alone” August 1… Read more »

Commemorating LGBT Pride Month amid the chaos

Kristie A. Kenney, the United States Ambassador to Thailand, commemorated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month together with people in the LGBT community and those who support diversity in Thailand. The reception was held at the Ambassador’s Residence in Bangkok on Thursday evening. “I hope you will find the opportunity to create new… Read more »

Welcome to TestBKK

Whether you’re single, in a new relationship, part of a couple or enjoying the company of many, whether you like to suck or prefer to fuck, we all need to take care of our sexual health and wellbeing. Apart from using condoms and water-based lubricant, getting tested regularly for HIV is an important part of… Read more »

Thai marriage equality bill unable to proceed due to political crisis

Progress in a marriage equality law in Thailand is stuck more because of the ongoing political crisis than any serious social opposition to same-sex couples marrying. Thailand already was in the forefront of Asian countries with a bill in parliament for acknowledging marriage equality. However, the prolonged fluid situation of current Thai politics which saw… Read more »

Thailand’s Intolerance of Its Own LGBT Community Will Surprise You

The Land of Smiles is a gay-friendly playground of brazen lady boys and sexual license, right? Well, not quite… Written by Per Liljas for Time Magazine. Thailand likes to project itself as an oasis of tolerance in a continent where roughly half of the countries outlaw homosexuality. It is one of only seven Asian signatories… Read more »

In Thailand, a Tough Life for Burma’s Male Sex Workers

Chiang Mai, Thailand — Sex work is seen as a taboo subject by much of Burmese society, but over the border in Thailand, Burmese migrants make up a large share of male sex workers. In the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, Burmese migrants sell their bodies for sex at “show bars” or other entertainment… Read more »

LGBT: What is a marriage but for ourselves?

Four women are living under the same roof, but each of them has a husband elsewhere who they are not living with. The documentary film called “Our Marriages”, describing how LGBT minorities suffer from the conventional Chinese concept of marriage, was shown at a screening event held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC)… Read more »

The two faces of Thai tolerance

Thailand’s Bangkok Post last week highlighted that while the country’s tourism authorities are trying to market Thailand as a gay-friendly destination urging gay visitors to “Go Thai. Be free”, local LGBT activists say the campaign disguises a darker reality that beneath the veneer of public tolerance, conservatism and discrimination remain rife. In an investigative report… Read more »

How Thailand and Vietnam are moving on same-sex ‘marriage’

What exactly is happening in Thailand and Vietnam on law reform to recognize gay and lesbian relationships? Doug Sanders reports from Bangkok and Hanoi While the focus has been on gay marriage in the West, same-sex partnership rights have also been on the move in South East Asia. We examine progress in Thailand and Vietnam,… Read more »

On the road to legalising same-sex relationships: Thailand and Vietnam

What exactly is happening in Thailand and Vietnam on law reform to recognise same-sex relationships? Doug Sanders, back home in Thailand from two weeks in Hanoi, reports. Thailand In the fall of 2012, the issue of legal recognition for same-sex relationships was taken up by the Committee on Legal Affairs, Justice and Human Rights of… Read more »

Thai university introduces two LGBT courses, a first in the ASEAN region

One of the top three universities in Thailand has introduced two LGBT courses, a breakthrough in the country and the region. Doug Sanders reports from Bangkok. On Saturday, July 6, around ten students met for the first time in the credit course “Voice of LGBT” in the graduate program in Women’s Studies at Thammasat University… Read more »

Fifty shades of pink

Some countries consider gay marriage, but elsewhere attitudes harden On the last Saturday in June the centre of Singapore’s very sober business district turned distinctly pink. Lesbians, gay men and others converged there for the annual celebration of what organisers call the “Freedom to Love”, also known as the “Pink Dot”, in honour of the… Read more »

HIV and Syphilis Infection Among Men Who Have Sex with Men — Bangkok, Thailand, 2005–2011

Although efforts to control the heterosexual human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in Thailand had shown success by the late 1990s (1), HIV continued to spread in other risk groups, including men who have sex with men (MSM). In 2003, the Thailand Ministry of Public Health–U.S. CDC Collaboration (TUC) started surveillance among MSM in Bangkok, finding… Read more »

Same-sex union bill no cause for celebration The Nation

Bangkok – Lesbians, gays and others seek equal treatment under the law, not special favours and condescension The recent move by the Parliamentary Commission on Law, Justice and Human Rights to legalise same-sex relationships came as a pleasant surprise to the local community of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and intersex persons (LGBTIs). Three leading LGBTI… Read more »

LGBT Thai teens forced to become monks by parents to turn them straight

Homophobic Thai parents have been forcing their LGBT children to become monks but they are taking to social media to assert their identity LGBT teens are being forced to become monks by homophobic Buddhist Thai parents but are taking to social media to express their identities according to the Bankok Post. 28 year-old Deer, who… Read more »

Overlooked, ignored, forgotten? No longer: Groups call for an end to transphobia in Asia Pacific

Bangkok, Thailand – “HIV remains a serious threat to transgender people worldwide,” states a new policy brief, Overlooked, Ignored, Forgotten: HIV and Basic Rights of Transgender People in Asia and the Pacific. For Asia and the Pacific, HIV rates among transgender people are disturbingly high, ranging from 49% in Delhi, India to 11% in Bangkok,… Read more »

Same-sex union bill no cause for celebration–Editorial

Lesbians, gays and others seek equal treatment under the law, not special favours and condescension Bangkok, Thailand – The recent move by the Parliamentary Commission on Law, Justice and Human Rights to legalise same-sex relationships came as a pleasant surprise to the local community of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and intersex persons (LGBTIs). Three leading… Read more »

Thai media features same-sex couples as parliament considers civil unions

As public hearings are underway before the bill will be proposed to parliament for debate, the English-language local media appears to be covering the issue positively with interviews with same-sex couples who speak about the discrimination they currently face and their hopes for the future. In February, Asia City’s BK Magazine profiled four couples in… Read more »

Largest ever LGBTI conference in Asia elects new representatives and chooses Taiwan for next conference in 2015

Thailand – The 5th ILGA-Asia conference with the theme “The Phoenix Rising” held March 29-31st 2013 has seen the biggest attendance ever of LGBTI activists in a conference in the region. Over 250 delegates from some 25 countries attended the event, joined by a numerous and enthusiastic team of Thai volunteers who were on rotation… Read more »

Building On The Past, Looking To The Future: APCOM Re-Launched

New leadership, new branding and a new website underscore renewed commitment to the regional MSM HIV cause Bangkok, Thailand: On the eve of its sixth birthday, the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual (APCOM) with new leadership and expanded constituencies is urging all coalition partners to renew efforts to ensure access to social, health and… Read more »

Thailand holds public hearings to consider civil union bill

The Rights and Liberties Protection Department and the House committee on Legal Affairs, Justice, and Human Rights have held the first of a series of public hearings to consider civil unions that would allow same-sex couples equal marriage rights. More than 200 people on Friday attended the first public hearing held to discuss the possibility… Read more »

A lesbian perspective on Thailand

Gay Star News interviews the founder of the first LGBT rights group in Thailand In most developing countries, gay men form LGBT rights groups first, encouraged by HIV and AIDS prevention funding. Thailand is unusual in that the first LGBT rights group, Anjaree, was formed by lesbians in 1987. Anjana Suvarnananda, one of the founders… Read more »

Thai government drafting same-sex civil partnership law

The government in Thailand has formed a committee with policy advisors and LGBT rights advocates to draft legal recognition for same-sex couples The Thai government has formed a committee to draft legislation on civil-partnership law for same-sex couples. One of the committee members, Anjana Suvarnananda of LGBT rights group Anjaree told Gay Star News that… Read more »

Transgender couple in Thailand speak

A touching video about a Thai opposite-gender couple who both happen to be trans The Bangkok post has made a touching video about a loving couple who both happen to be transgender. Trans woman Sittichai ‘Pond’ Suafug and trans man Benhamaporn ‘Ben’ Rotjutakul met five years ago and on Valentine’s Day this year Ben proposed.… Read more »

Queering the pitch, deliberately

Dr Peter Jackson discusses what it means to be queer in a Thai context The US academic Rosalind Morris once praised a book on Thai studies by noting that “it offers a relentless repudiation of those saccharine tropes through which Thailand has mainly been read”. This is a rousing comment and one that suggests great… Read more »

The ASEAN declaration – Good news or bad news?

We now know what the draft ASEAN Human Rights Declaration will say. Is it good news or bad news for LGBTI? Douglas Sanders looks at the issues. First the bad news. We are not named. In the anti-discrimination provisions there is no reference to “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” or “gender expression.” Perhaps we don’t… Read more »

Thai lesbian movie ‘Yes or No 2’ hits theatres

Thailand’s first lesbian movie Yes or No, which was a surprise hit in China and Taiwan, returns to the screen with a sequel this month. Doug Sanders, who reviewed the first on Fridae, reports on the new two hour-long film. In early 2010 the first Thai movie in which a tom (Thai term for butch… Read more »

Gay Policy In Thailand: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Care”

By day, Thung Si Mueng may appear as any old standard park in Northeast Thailand, but by night, it transforms into the ultimate high school hang out. There’s a public fitness center, an aerobics classroom as well as badminton, soccer and basketball courts. It’s a place for families to go that don’t have a backyard.… Read more »

Thai uni allows trans grads to wear female gowns

Oxbridge of Thailand will allow five transgender students to graduate in female attire this year The Higher Education Commission in Thailand has agreed to allow five transgender women graduating from the country’s most prestigious university to wear female clothes in their graduation ceremony on 30 August. ‘I’ve dressed in a female student uniform since I… Read more »

Most young Thai MSM define as heterosexual, even if they mainly have sex with men

A large, randomised sample of 21-year-old Thai men, presented at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington recently, has found that by far the largest risk factor for HIV infection is gay identity. Contrary to the oft-quoted saying “it’s not who you are, but what you do,” actual male/male sexual behaviour, while still an important… Read more »

New Regional Community Youth Leader And Policy Briefing Paper Announced

(Bangkok)   The Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) has been a leader in mobilising attention and action to promote the health and human rights of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people since 2007. Today, APCOM reaffirms its commitment to working with young MSM and transgender people by supporting… Read more »

On ’100% Thai manliness’ and the reality of LBGT in Thailand

On Wednesday, a rather confusing headline made the rounds when a Thai actor told that the country’s Ministry of Culture (or as we call it here “ThaiMiniCult”) ordered TV executives to ensure that “100 per cent male” actors should not play transgender roles on TV. Naturally, such a bold statement caused at least befuddlement and… Read more »

Thailand: Trans woman becomes the first to win elections to public office

A trans woman has won a historic seat in local elections in Thailand, thereby becoming the first openly transgender person to hold public office in the country. Yonlada Suanyos, a PhD candidate who also runs a satellite television station, in addition to running her own jewellery business, has defeated two other male candidates to become… Read more »

Lady Gaga Meets Thailand’s ‘Lady Boys’

Bangkok — Lady Gaga has met Thailand’s premier “lady boys” at a Bangkok drag show featuring busty dancers who were not born that way. Diving in to the city’s nightlife, the pop diva and an entourage from her “Born This Way Ball” took in a show at the well-known Calypso Cabaret, where she cheered on… Read more »

Windows into domestic gay Thailand

A exhibition of tender photographs of gay couples in their homes is showing in Bangkok, Gay Star News interviews the Thai photographer Piryarat Piyapongwiwat Queerness, an exhibition at the Toot Yung gallery in Bangkok presents windows into the domestic lives of gay couples in the city. Piryarat Piyapongwiwat, the photographer behind the exhibition, and featured… Read more »