Wednesday (9 September) saw Thailand’s first discrimination laws specifically protecting LGBT people come into effect.
The new 2015 Gender Equality Act, which was passed in March, punishes discrimination against gender identity or sexual orientation with up six months in jail and a fine of 20,000 baht.
The law puts a stop to government agencies, private organizations, or individuals from creating anti-gay policies and from discriminating against people based on gender or sexuality.
The act was launched at the beginning of the week at a three-day workshop attended by 400 participants attended, including representatives from civil society, government ministries, legal experts and media.
“Co-operation from all sectors is key in moving forward with the enforcement of this Act, in order to create an equal and just society,” said Somchai Charoenamnuaysuk, Director-General of the Department of Family Affairs and Family Development.
He added that the support of non-LGBT people in Thailand is vital to the law’s success and that the public will play a “key role”.
Thailand is famous for its vibrant LGBT scene especially for tourists. Same-sex marriage was discussed in 2012, with legislation being drafted, but was put on hold as the country struggled with political instability.