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Samart Micharoen, second from left, and his friends hold up campaign posters calling for an end to discrimination against transexuals at the Administrative Court...
Army renames transgender conscripts

in THAILAND, 04/09/2011

Transgender army recruits won't have their feelings hurt in the coming conscription season. Well, hopefully not that much, anyway. Instead of their sexuality being called a "psychological abnormality" or a "gender identity disorder", they will simply be referred to as "Type 2" or "Type 3".

The army has coined the terms to avoid offending transgender people.

Type 2 refers to men who have undergone breast augmentation, while Type 3 comprises people who have had a full sex change.

The army had proposed replacing the term "psychological abnormality" with "gender identity disorder" but had a rethink after fierce criticisms from human rights groups, who were opposed to any term that suggests abnormality.

The Defence Ministry is amending the Conscription Act of 1954, said Thaksin Chiamthong, director of the academic resources division of the Army Reserve Command.

He said the main purpose of the amendment is to correct the part of the law that states transgender people are exempt from conscription because they are considered psychologically abnormal.

"Normally only Type 1 [men whose appearances are typical of men] are required to draw a conscription ballot," said Col Thaksin.

"But if the number of Type 1 is insufficient, Type 2 will be conscripted as well, despite their female-like breasts."

Types 2 and 3 will be required to report for annual conscription for three years before being exempted permanently, he said.

Conscription is scheduled to be conducted from April 1-11.

The armed forces and Defence Ministry need to conscript 97,280 men aged 21 _ an increase of 9,828 from last year.

The army alone needs 73,503 new soldiers for the 15th Infantry Division in Pattani and divisions based in Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen. The navy needs 16,000 conscripts, while the air force wants 6,463, the Supreme Command 833 and the Defence Ministry's permanent secretary's office 481.

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