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Neither fish nor fowl

University graduate refuses to skirt the gender issue

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  • Newspaper section: Life
  • Writer: Parisa Pichitmarn
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The graduation season is rounding the last corner, and when the commencement ceremony takes place tomorrow at Thammasat University, all eyes will be fixed on Baramee Phanich. The Social Science graduate has made headlines and roused another round of debate on gender issues _ as well as the he/she dilemma for writers _ when Baramee, a male student, formally asked the university for permission to dress in female attire at the ceremony. 

Baramee, better known by her nickname Denjan, has become a media sensation since the story broke and a top news show invited her on air. But the case around Baramee is more than just surface sensationalism: her bachelor's thesis is actually about cross-dressing and society's's attitude towards it, and her decision to use a medical certificate to back up her request sparked disagreement from some LGBT advocates. Baramee has also mentioned that she wants to be ordained as a monk, an announcement that stirred a range of reactions from all sections of society.

On the eve of her big day, we talk to Baramee, probably the most photographed graduate of the year.

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