First LGBTI protection laws in Thailand

Participants in the Phuket Pride parade (Pic:

Participants in the Phuket Pride parade (Pic:

New legislation that protects LGBTI people from discrimination came into effect in Thailand on Wednesday.

The law, officially titled the Gender Equality Act B.E. 2558, prevents discrimination on the basis of gender and is inclusive of LGBTI people.

The act was launched at a three-day workshop last week, which focused on its practical implementation in Thailand.

Director-General of the Department of Family Affairs and Family Development, Somchai Charoenamnuaysuk, outlined how the new law bars government agencies, private organisations, or individuals from formulating or establishing any kind of policies, rules, regulations, measures, projects or operating procedures that discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Cooperation from all sectors is key in moving forward with the enforcement of this Act in order to create an equal and just society,” said Charoenamnuaysuk.

“The public plays an important role in keeping a watchful eye on cases of discrimination, providing support to LGBTI people, as well as ensuring compliance with the rules, regulations and measures,” he added.

Project manager at Bangkok Rainbow, Art Pongtasorn, commented that, “The first step to ensure this is to raise awareness and accessibility of this new law among Thai society while also raising awareness of discrimination against LGBTI people.”

Thailand is considered to be one of the most liberal countries in Asia with regard to its LGBTI community, but this does not always extend outside of its cities. Neither same-sex marriage nor civil partnerships are yet legal in the country.

While transgender people are visible in the entertainment world and are in much demand among foreign tourists they have traditionally had few rights or protections.

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