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  • Monique Srikijroj

Thailand Celebrates Its First Pride Parade in 16 years



Despite being hailed as one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in the world, Queer people are still tirelessly fighting for equal rights in Thailand.


Earlier this month, the country’s capital, Bangkok, witnessed an explosion of glitz and glam as the LGBTQ+ community stepped out for their first Pride parade in 16 years.


The parade, also known as “Naruemit Pride 2022," was organised by a coalition of NGOs and activist groups with the city's newly ratified governor, Chadchart Sittiput.


Thousands of allies and people of all genders, including sex workers, feminists, and drag artists bounded down the centre of Bangkok, waving rainbow and transgender flags.


Four Pride parade attendants in colourful outfits, one holding a rainbow flag. Source: Andre Malerba/Zuma

The significance of this parade was heightened after The Marriage Equality Bill was passed in Thai parliament just ten days following the parade.


This draft proposed to replace the use of gendered terms in the existing laws around civil union and marriage rights.


The passing of The Marriage Equality Bill could pave way for changes in other gender-discriminatory acts and laws, such as the legal recognition of transgender people.


If successful, Thailand could potentially become the second country in Asia to fully legalise same-sex marriage.


Pride parade participant in a colourful shirt holding sign "Marriage Equality" amongst the crowd. Source: Apcom.org

LGBTQ+ democracy activist, Sex Worker Rights defender and Board member of Manushya Foundation, Sirisak “Ton” Chaited, says all anyone wants is equal rights and to be treated as equal human beings.


"The LGBTIQ+ community never asked for special treatment," says Sirisak, "all we want is to be treated as equal human beings as we deserve."


Despite its image of acceptance and celebration, the conservative Buddhist-majority nation continues to create hurdles in achieving equal rights for all.


Although there is still a long way to go before the legalisation of same-sex marriages, the success of the Pride parade and The Marriage Equality Bill are significant milestones for the equality and rights of the LGBTQ+ community.


 

Image Source: Andre Malerba/Zuma

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