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THAILAND

Male to Male relationships: Legal
Punishments for male to male relationships: No law
Female to Female Relationships: Legal
Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals
Is it possible to change your gender on official documents?: No
Gay or lesbian able to serve in the armed forces: Yes

Your Views

Are you LGBTI? We want to hear from you! Help us inform other users of the site with your views on this country. Below is a random question about this country. If it is relevant to you please answer it.

Is your healthcare affected by your sexual orientation or gender identity in THAILAND?

The majority of people visiting this site have said No, my healthcare is the same

Yes, it is more expensive (0 %) Yes, I was dropped from my insurance plan (0 %) My coverage is different because of my sexual orientation (0 %) No, my healthcare is the same (100%)

The THAILAND country survey is populated by LGBTI groups who have acted as liaisons with ILGA to identify issues affecting the LGBTI community.

Organizations were asked to discuss 4 broad subjects: the law, the mood (the social climate), the LGBTI movement as well as what would be, according to them, the most pressing campaign in their country.

Please write to countryreport@ilga.org if you have comments regarding this page.

MOOD
What is the social climate like for LGBTI people in your country?
How is it like to be an LGBTI in schools?
Ladyboys or kathoeys are well known in Thailand and stories of LGBTI in schools are inevitably about them, and not about LGBI (though gay males are often described as "kathoey" in media coverage). There was a public controversy in 2009 about kathoey being denied the right to wear female school clothing to graduation ceremonies. Apparently many schools allowed them to wear female clothing while attending regular classes. As in many other parts of Asia, "gay" men are invisible, and controversies concern effeminate males. The controversies in 2009 did not include any discussion of "tom" lesbian females.
Are there programs against homophobia at schools?
Not as part of any government curriculum.
Are religious institutions actively campaigning against LGBTI rights?
No. Buddhist groupings do not seem to address issues of sexual and gender diversity. Thailand has the lowest per capita percentage of Christians in Asia and specifically Christian voices do not seem to feature in public debates on sexuality/gender issues. Opposition when it occurs is seen as representing conservative social views, not specifically religious views. Many believe that being kathoey (or gay, which is often equated with kathoey) is a result of bad karma, reflecting heterosexual adultery in a past life.
Are there religious institutions who welcome LGBTI people?
There do not seem to be any religious institutions that specifically have a policy of welcoming LGBTI people.
Would you say it is easy to come out to your doctor as a gay person?
Most Thai people would not do so.
Would you say it is easy to come out to your doctor as a lesbian?
Most Thai people would not do so.
Would you say it is easy to come out to your doctor as a trans person?
Trans people are very well known and usually fairly easy to identify in Thai society. They are generally either "out" or recognized by others. A doctor would know.
Is discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexual and trans very common in day to day life? Please specify differences between the various communities.
Gender normative gay men and lesbians are invisible in Thai society, so there would be little discrimination. Trans people are visible, allowing for discrimination. There seem few if any trans professional people or university graduates. Trans are visible as clerks in stores, particularly selling cosmetics, waitresses in cafes and in beauty parlors. They also have a successful niche in the entertainment industry, most famously in the large tourist-oriented trans cabaret shows in Pattaya, Bangkok and other tourist destinations.
Is discrimination against gays,lesbians, bisexual and trans very common at work? Please specify differences between the various communities.
As in other parts of Asia, it is said that trans people (kathoey in Thailand) are discriminated against in employment, with the result that a number engage in sex work. It seems clear that Kathoey in Thailand have a better economic situation than their sisters in Malaysia, Indonesia, South Asia and the Philippines.
Is hate speech common against gays,lesbians, bisexual and trans? Please specify differences between the various communities.
MTF trans people (kathoey in Thailand) are the subject of demeaning humor in television programs, films and humorous cabaret performances. This is not "hate speech" but the presentation of insulting stereotypes. This contrasts sharply with the elegant images of Thai trans beauty queens, whose photographs appear in the press at the conclusion of beauty contests. Tom lesbians are visible, but subject to little attention.
Please specify differences between the various communities.
Gender normative gay men and lesbian women are invisible. No well known entertainment or political figures are "out" as gay or lesbian. MTF trans people (kathoey in Thailand) are visible. They are both mocked and admired.
Are episodes of violences very common against people in the gay community?
No.
Are episodes of violences very common against people in the lesbian community?
No
Are episodes of violences very common against trans individuals?
No. Some harassment of MTF trans people was reported to the National Human Rights Commission by police in the beach resort of Pattaya.
How are gays,lesbians,trans people portrayed in the media?
The English language print media is very LGBT friendly. Many Thai language papers are sensationalistic in their social coverage, and so not LGBT friendly. Television and films place trans people, generally, in demeaning comedy roles. But sympathetic or positive portrayals have occurred in some films over the last decade (notably Iron Ladies, Beautiful Boxer, Bangkok Love Story, Love of Siam).
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