Thailand’s government is putting forward a bill to recognize trans people

Thailand’s government will table a gender recognition bill in October, after years of pressure from trans people trying to secure their rights.

However the proposals from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security only covers specific categories. As a result it may leave behind non-binary and intersex people.

As such, it appears to follow a similar pattern to the Thai government’s civil partnership bill.

The country’s cabinet approved the bill last month. However, they disappointed many by offering same-sex couples similar rights to heterosexuals but falling short of legislating for same-sex marriage.

Trans Thais: Visible but not protected

Many consider Thailand to be one of the most LGBT+ friendly countries in Asia. Homosexuality has been legal since 1956 and Thailand actively markets itself as an LGBT+ tourist destination.

Meanwhile transgender women are a visible part of society. However, they often face marginalization and the law does not guarantee their rights.

In March this year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said trans Thais suffer discrimination that often results in violence and abuse.

They struggle with accessing employment, education, health care and other social services. One reason is that their gender identities don’t match official documents.

Chompoonute Nakornthap, from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, told the Bangkok Post that the new bill will tackle that problem.

The proposals won’t force trans people to undergo gender confirmation surgery in order to change their legal gender.

She said: ‘We will submit the bill to parliament before the end of the parliamentary session in October.

‘We have taken note of all groups, including non-binary people. We are still discussing legal details for those seeking title change, but whether or not it will come true rests with those in power.’

Thailand’s politics appear to be getting more LGBT+ friendly. In last year’s general elections, most parties includes some LGBT+ policies, including proposals to recognize same-sex partners.

Moreover, the elections saw the first openly trans and non-binary person enter the House of Represenatives. Filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit won a seat for the Future Forward Party (FFP) which is particularly progressive on LGBT+ rights.


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