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It is believed that Thailand is the home of LGBT people in the world. This status was conferred on them due to the fact that the highest number of LGBT people in the world resides in Thailand. It is also a center of sex rearrangement, and to date, no record of violence towards homosexuals has been recorded. Lastly, the winner of the Miss Tiffany (Transgender) World show emerged from Thailand. However, it is wrong to assume that Thailand is a haven for sexual minorities.
We will analyze the prejudice that these people face in midst of this cultural, religiously accepted and tolerated behavior, and hopefully you will grasp why it is a false myth that Thailand is a paradise for sexual minorities.
In the Thai legal system, there is no provision for LGBT persons. Existing laws do not permit LGBT persons to pursue the career path of their choice and the hope for every LGBT person to have an “ideal, permanent partner” an imagination because while Thai LGBT people can live together as lovers, they are not allowed to be legally married under the Thai customary law.
Transgender people who have successfully, and expensively, undergone the sex reassignments are not allowed to change their gender identity, which is why it is not uncommon to see many female-looking persons with a different gender status in their passport and ID card. The negative aspect about this is that it causes the transgender community embarrassment; especially when they travel outside of their country and have to explain and prove why they are different. This poses a lot of risk in countries where such differences are not tolerated and accepted.
Reuters have reported Ladyboys’ picture confuse election officials; “Thailand’s community of lady-boys complained on Wednesday they were being marginalized in next week’s general election because their ID card pictures were too confusing for polling officials.”
Because transgender people are completely changed, it makes no sense for them to carry their birth identification. Since Thai’s legal system has refused to allow them to amend their status based on their physical appearances, and also refuses to grant them a third sex status in their passport and ID card, it further proves why this behavior is not accepted by the Thai law of culture.
In 2004, a top official at the Ministry of Culture proposed removing homosexuals from the media and government posts. In 2006, the Ministry of Defense branded transgender draftees as suffering from “permanent psychosis” in their military exemption documents known as SorDor 43. To this effect, LGBT persons are not qualified to be military personnel, or hold any other serious government position, including working in Immigration.
Seeking an environment where they fit in and are accepted, many LGBT end up as performers, sex workers, street vendors, make-up artist and the like.
The sad truth about this issue is that at the time when many Thai LGBT become transgendered, they really do not know that they are not accepted and they are quick to be impressed by the tolerance and respect they get from heterosexual people.
If the Thai legal system does not accept LGBT in theory and in practice, they should shout it loud! They should campaign against it in schools, stop high school children from cross-dressing. At least it gives them the idea that when they become one, they do so at their own risk or societal marginalization.