Test 2

Please select your preferred language.

請選擇你慣用的語言。

请选择你惯用的语言。

English
中文简体
台灣繁體
香港繁體

Login

Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile

Advertisement

More About Us

Advertisement
11 Sep 2013

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 published last week, the Bangkok Post reported that while Thailand has long been known as a desirable destination for gay and transgender travellers, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had not had LGBT-specific advertising campaigns until recently with the launch of the "Go Thai Be Free" campaign.

The report outlined how local LGBT activists began to campaign for the passage of a civil partnership law with the Civil Partnership Act having now been reviewed five times, with public hearings have been held in all four regions of Thailand.

For the bill to pass, 20 MPs must sign in support of a public bill before it can be presented to parliament for deliberation and that has already been achieved. However the proposal is yet to be added to the House agenda due to a shortage of public support. The bill has only garnered about 4,000 of the required 10,000 signatures from members of the public to proceed.

The report continues:

In the eyes of the outsider, Thailand is a virtual paradise of tolerance. But for gay and transgender people inside the country, the picture is less idyllic.

The Foundation for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Rights and Justice last year interviewed 868 people who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender in Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Bangkok, Pattaya, Surat Thani, Phuket and Nakhon Ratchasima.

It found that 15% of respondents were not accepted among their own family members, while 8% were only conditionally accepted as part of the family. For nearly 13% of respondents, family members refused to let them live with a gay partner.

More than 14% had been verbally assaulted by family members, 2.5% were kicked out of the family home and 1.3% were forced to undergo psychological treatment. About 2.5% were forced to enter the monkhood, while 2.4% were physically attacked by family members and 3.3% were sexually assaulted by friends.

Naiyana Supapung, coordinator of the Teeranat Kanjanaauksorn Foundation, which works for gender and sexual justice, tells Spectrum that gay and transgender people in Thailand face silent abuse throughout their everyday lives.

Read full report here.

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-09-11 19:35  
"About 2.5% were forced to enter the monkhood, while 2.4% were physically attacked by family members and 3.3% were sexually assaulted by friends."

Wow! I do not recall any of this kind happening in my country. Perhaps the organisation can conduct it in Sg to compare.
Comment #2 was deleted by its author on 2013-09-11 20:22
3. 2013-09-11 20:22  
I knew something was amiss since 1999, when I went for the second time. I was having lunch with a couple of ladies from one of the government agencies there, and the subject of gay tourists and locals came up. It was not an attitude I expected, quite intolerant.
4. 2013-09-11 21:38  
Reckon "tolerance" (rather than acceptance) says it all. While this still beats the sort of homophobia that could lead to physical violence, there is still room for progress. The attitudes are probably quite different to foreign gay people than to Thai gay people, and different again to compatriots to family members. Moreover, there is a huge connection between socio-economic status and such attitudes; acceptance is probably greatest among the very rich and the socio-economically poorly off; the middle class, who aspire to climb, are the most judgmental -- not to a person, but as a generalisation. This is as true in Thailand as it has been, historically, in most cultures. The middle class have the most to lose by upsetting the cultural mores.
Comment #5 was deleted by its author on 2013-09-11 21:38
6. 2013-09-12 02:17  
I think they should compare those numbers with same interviews in place like...Indonesia. China. Pakistan. Saudi Arabia. Iran. Russia. Even good 'ol (facetious) USA. Perhaps in KY, AL, or some such southern states. Id hazard to guess Thailand is at the upper spectrum of tolerance and/or acceptance.

Of course nothing is perfect. But I think when put in perspective, complaining about Thailand is a bit silly.
7. 2013-09-12 06:35  
Considering that Thailand uses its oppressive lese majeste laws to jail or punish those who criticise its monarchy (which is different to a dictatorship silencing critics... How, exactly?), I fail to understand how gay people can be expected to decide to go to Thailand to be 'free' - oh, so long as Certain Thoughts are and Freedoms of Expression are absolutely locked down. That doesn't make sense to me very much; but then, we Irish killed off our High Kings and Queens centuries ago, and have been a quarrelsome - but free - race ever since.
8. 2013-09-12 07:56  
Parts of AL are more conservative than others. Same can be said for CA PA or NY. No one seems to remember how conservative Anaheim and the rest of Orange County are. Or how liberal Austin and Houston are. Recalling Houston is one of the 2 or 3 largest cities in the entire world that elected an openly Gay Mayor, it sorta bucks the trendy models that the US West coast is "liberal" and the US Gulf Coast, or "some such southern states", is (are) "conservative". Depends on what you mean. What Thai city elected an openly Gay mayor? What about other elected officials? Thais are pretty conservative compared to New Orleans (in another "such southern state"), during Mardi Gras or Southern Decadence.
9. 2013-09-12 19:22  
I agree with #6. But it is human to want something better when we already have something good...
10. 2013-09-13 07:11  
I have been living in Thailand off and on for 30 years, working with the farmers of Isan and living in BKK and Chiang Mai. I think letter #4 by JeffBKK was very accurate. I have met many, many Thais who will not come out to their families and/or friends, but I still strongly believe that being gay in Thailand, be it a foreigner or a Thai, is still easily the best place I have ever been. They don't have laws to protect gays in Thailand because unlike many Western countries, they don't NEED laws to protect them.
11. 2013-09-13 07:13  
I have been living in Thailand off and on for 30 years, working with the farmers of Isan and living in BKK and Chiang Mai. I think letter #4 by JeffBKK was very accurate. I have met many, many Thais who will not come out to their families and/or friends, but I still strongly believe that being gay in Thailand, be it a foreigner or a Thai, is still easily the best place I have ever been. They don't have laws to protect gays in Thailand because unlike many Western countries, they don't NEED laws to protect them.
12. 2013-09-13 15:19  
Oh, yes. Thailand may not pass any same sex proposal but
I hope they do. Something about having it as a law makes
it legal with all the trimmings. #2/8 is correct , #4 is correct
as is #12"me" I grew up in one of those conservative Gulf States
in the U.S.A. maybe the most conservative, Mississippi. I knew
that a good education would get me out(thank you USM). I
eventually found Thailand and have been going for the last
six years of my career with AAL. Gay Thais will always be
struggling for equality but I agree with "skirby". To be a gay
in Thailand is better than other countries on this Earth.
Sometimes I think that gay men/women were born to be
in a constant struggle with normal humans. Face it men
as long a hate is being taught gays are going to be put
down by other humans one way or the other.
13. 2013-09-13 16:10  
Well said nos. 4, 11 and 12. Agreed wholeheartedly. I too have lived in Chiang Mai for 5 years, since retiring from work in the UK, and although I have experienced many issues involving my Thai bf's, and some tragedies, none of it was related to their families or compatriots being at all un-accepting to either my Thai gay friends or to myself personally being gay. In fact just the opposite: I was always welcomed with the customary Thai warmth and un-remitting kindness.
Thank you Thailand and good wishes for your current advertising campaign to attract more gay tourists. How refreshing for a government agency to actually promote this!
I can't imagine my country, the UK, actually going this far, or indeed many other so-called 'advanced' Western democracies, can you?

14. 2013-09-15 03:59  
If married straight Thais and Russians were denied tourist/visitor status abroad, maybe Thailand and Russia would wake up and get on with reality.
15. 2013-09-15 03:59  
If married straight Thais and Russians were denied tourist/visitor status abroad, maybe Thailand and Russia would wake up and get on with reality.
16. 2013-09-15 03:59  
If married straight Thais and Russians were denied tourist/visitor status abroad, maybe Thailand and Russia would wake up and get on with reality.
17. 2013-09-15 04:00  
If married straight Thais and Russians were denied tourist/visitor status abroad, maybe Thailand and Russia would wake up and get on with reality.
18. 2013-09-16 11:25  
I lived in Thailand on and off for 4.5 years. In that time, I went from "Wow, what nice, tolerant and happy to people" to a year later or so, of "Oh, I do not trust Thais at all, they are duplicitous, racist and shallow" to finally, "Thais are not as they seem at first, some are very racist and intolerant (yes, as the article stated, some gays/trans get rejected by family) and some, like everywhere, are tolerant, honest, and kind.

I guess Thailand is not so upfront, which means it takes time to get to know the culture. The Thai smile is practically a law no matter how a Thai might really feel. Once I got to know them better, I was much more at ease and much more particular in my associations
19. 2013-09-16 14:08  
are u smart?
How many those honest from 100 people? 100%? 50%?, 1%?

from 100 contestants, how many were winner? 100? 1?
20. 2013-09-16 22:55  
Thanks JeffBKK (#4) and usa_scorpion (#12), I think you are both spot on, and so are skirby and douglasseattle.

For usa_scorpion: Number 2 was probably mine as I had to delete a duplicate of #3.
21. 2013-09-16 22:55  
Thanks JeffBKK (#4) and usa_scorpion (#12), I think you are both spot on, and so are skirby and douglasseattle.

For usa_scorpion: Number 2 was probably mine as I had to delete a duplicate of #3.
22. 2013-12-05 15:04  
but at least Bangkok has a gay life! After visiting KL I found that saunas have been closed due to police crackdown in November. There is an anti gay political move.
23. 2015-07-15 04:02  
Brings to mind the phrase 'don't be afraid of the enemy that hates you, but the false friend that hugs you'.

Let's face it, they are only 'tolerant' for the pink dollars. As very clearly shown in the article they didn't even bother being friendly with people like us. Sadly, most Asian countries are like that. There are exceptions, of course... Taiwan, Japan, etc.
Comment edited on 2015-07-15 04:15:30

Please log in to use this feature.

Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!

Languages

View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook

Partners

 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia

Advertisement