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Transgenders Await Military Verdict

in THAILAND, 31/08/2011

Administrative judges convened yesterday for the first time to hear evidence on a petition filed five years ago by the Sexual Diversity Network against the Ministry of Defence for labelling a transgender as “suffering from permanent psychosis” in her military discharge document (Sor Dor 43).

An initial opinion was read by one of the judges that by doing so the ministry had violated the rights of the plaintiff, Samart “Namwarn” Meecharoen, and must correct her Sor Dor 43 document.

“I am quite happy but we will have to wait for the final decision on September 13. With the word ‘psychosis’ written on my military paper, it’s impossible to get a job,” said Namwarn.

The judge’s statement, however, was greeted with cautious optimism by LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] activists.

“The judge’s opinion that the plaintiff should instead be categorised as ‘katoey’ [hermaphrodite] is not accurate. Transgenders do not have sexual organs of both sexes like hermaphrodites. It is hoped Namwarn’s paper will be corrected to ‘gender discordance’ – the term agreed on by the Ministry of Defence and Sexual Diversity Network to be used for future transgender draftees,” said an LGBT activist who wished to remain anonymous.

“It is also disturbing that transgenders who have undergone sex reassignment surgeries are considered by the judge as ‘suffering from mental disorder’ and the judge only found in favour of the plaintiff because she had not had surgery,” he said.

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