Celebrate diversity this month (and always)
Nothing screams Pride month louder than the rainbow palette popping up all over Bangkok. Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community throughout the world annually, June is when people can proudly carry a flag for diversity and visibility of groups of people, who have been mariginalised in daily life. While the LGBTQIA+ community in Thailand enjoys a lot of visibility, it doesn't mean they've never faced any challenges. Guru has gathered noted figures of the community to share their pride with us.
Nisamanee 'Nutt' Lertvorapong
- CEO of cosmetic brand Zhe Cosmetics and food supplement Pherone
- Owner of fashion brand Fratellinn
"I'm proud of myself for being different. When I was a kid, I always thought that being different was wrong. Other kids bullied me just because I was not like them. When I grew up, what everyone saw as 'misbehaviour' is what has made me successful today. There's nothing wrong with being afraid to be different. We were raised in a society that discourages us from being rebels against the standard. But imagine if everyone looks and thinks the same. That's weirder. A tip from me, you must believe in your unique personality. It's a gift that makes you special and stand out from others. I'm proud to be a member of the LGBTQIA+ community."
Npak 'Jyb' Maha-udomporn
- Consultant for gender reassignment surgery
- Contestant on The Face Men Thailand Season 3, the first transman to join the show
"For me, pride is what I take from who I am. Love and appreciate yourself. It gives me a goal to achieve something and what to live for."
Jitsak 'Gino' Lim-Pakornkul
- Contestant of MasterChef Thailand Season 3 and MasterChef All-Stars Thailand
- CEO of Koolpunt Hospitality Group, Chiang Mai
"My pride is the happiness of being who I am today by accepting my self-worth and self-awareness. I'm myself to engender happiness in others. Whether you're part of LGBTQIA+ or not, we should be courageous enough to open the door to acceptance, love and faith in our life. Make every day meaningful and full of joy. We should be proud in everything we do, every path we choose to walk on and every being that we are."
Adisak 'Beam' Jirasakkasem
- Founder of fashion house IWANNABANGKOK
"It's really important to understand who you're from the inside, then set your goal of what kind of person you want to become. Don't be afraid of trials and errors. The way I found myself is that I have to realise my potential and accept who I am before accomplishing success. Everything else will follow. So, I would say every day is my pride."
Ekkachai 'Ekky' Euasangkomsert
- TV show host, radio DJ and producer
"Pride for me means that I can live safely, support my family and share happiness with others while being my true self. Many people seem so afraid to unleash their inner-self because of the fear of being rejected from society. Speaking of which, everything starts with you. The first step to making others accept you is your own self-acceptance. You have to be confident and proud of who and what you are before thinking whether others would like you or not."
Sippakorn 'Ken' Khiaosanthia
- Baphoboy, an artist known for his controversial paintings
"I might have a different perspective from others when it comes to defining pride. For me, Pride Month is just another month of the year and it doesn't convince me to be prouder of myself or have more self-esteem. There's nothing so special about it. But don't get me wrong, what I'm trying to say that I'm proud of who I am every day. I have never believed that my sexuality or being part of the LGBTQIA+ community makes me any different, extraordinary or inferior to any others. I don't talk about my sexual preference with my parents and don't need approval from them for being queer. Why? I believe that whether you're LGBTQIA+ or not, you can be a successful person.
Many people might ask me why I have gained success within a conservative Thai society? My answer is simple: 'Screw it!'. Don't let any definitions created by a few judge or prevent you from being your true self. Whether you have a penis, vagina or don't have one, that doesn't mean you're any different from others. Regardless of what society categorises you as, remember this: 'You can always change the world'."
Various businesses and brands have shown their alliance with the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are a few.
Open to change
Live Equality / Sansiri
Sansiri is taking a big step by reintroducing its iconic logo to embrace Pride Month. It is also the first Thai business and one of 200 global corporate giants to sign the UN Global Standards of Conduct for Business agreement, which is the human rights principle to ensure equality of LGBTQIA+ employees in the workplace. Sansiri has transformed its stack-logo from five to two stacks this month, as a symbol of an equal sign to advocate the need for gender diversity. Sansiri has also teamed up with other companies for the "Live Equally" campaign to share their visionary mindsets with others through activities and events.
Weaving the freedom
The Pride Edition Braided Solo Loop / Apple
Apple has dropped a new multi-coloured loop for Apple Watch to celebrate Pride Month as a follow-up to its rainbow straps launched last year. The new Pride Edition loop comes in a colourful wave-braided, representing the harmony of the LGBTQIA+ community. Since Apple focuses on sustainability, this loop is made from stretchable recycled yarn interwoven with silicon threads. Besides the rainbow colours from Pride flags, this latest version added black and brown to represent the African-American and Latinx communities, while the combo of light blue, pink and white is meant for transgender and non-binary individuals. The Pride Edition Braided Solo Loop is available at Apple flagship stores and online for B3,100.
The end of a rainbow
Mitr Proud 100% Love / Samyan Mitrtown / until Jul 11
Samyan Mitrtown is celebrating all colours of life by making over its complex with a rainbow theme and turning it into an LGBTQIA+ safe space. Instagrammers will be pleased with the photogenic installation of art spots placed throughout the mall to update their game-changing posts. The highlight is the rainbow walkway stretching from the MRT tunnel along the underground floor to the mall's entrance. From 6.30-9pm, the mall's façade will glow in rainbow colours as a tribute to the LGBTQIA+ movement. The "Mitr Proud 100% Love" campaign will be held until July 11 and don't forget to collect a limited Pride-Month edition alcohol spray for free at the checking point.
Samyan Mitrtown, 944 Rama IV Road, MRT Samyan / Visit www.samyan-mitrtown.com.
Struggle, joy to self-love
Pride edition / Converse
Converse unveils its Pride edition featuring rainbow colours and artful motifs printed on footwear and clothing with a hidden story. This year's collection highlights rainbow colours of Pride flags on its shoe details, such as rainbow sole, multicolour lace and even transitioning of its iconic logo into a bright rainbow star (transgender pun intended). The brand's latest motifs of elements in nature are displayed on T-shirts, tank tops, bucket hats, sunglasses and sneakers. Jagged mountains and free-flowing blossoms prints are interpreted as the duality of struggle and joy along their journey to self-love among the LGBTQIA+ community.
Speaking out loud
Take over the show / Queer Takeover Thailand / June 19
Queer Takeover Thailand is hosting an open mic online stage for LGBTQIA+ artists who are proud to share their passion for the love of art forms with other like-minded folks on June 19. Since they aim to create a safe space for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC (black and indigenous people) communities, this online theatre is allowing artists to express their true selves by performing. Whether it be comedy routine, a lip-sync performance, singing or even sharing a memorable story of being different. Ticket costs, a minimum donation of B249, will be forwarded to a survival fund for LGBTQIA+ activists in Thailand.
Wear your pride
Pride edition / Vans
Vans has portrayed the spirits of the LGBTQIA+ community on its famous sneaker lines and clothing. This year's highlights feature its revamped Vans Era, which embodies patchwork design in rainbow colours and golden glitter in contrast with white embroidery. Classic slip-on will definitely shout out your pride where LGBTQIA+ letter patterns are placed all over the shoe, while Old Skool and SK8-HI mix a low-key black canvas with a side-stripe of an iconic rainbow print. Check out the collection at Vans flagship stores and online.
Ultimate rainbow collection
We Are All The Same / Greyhound Original
Thai long-standing fashion house Greyhound Original has launched a limited-edition "We Are All The Same" matching collection. This pride edition features T-shirts (B1,500) and caps (B1,100) that come in rainbow colours while offering a mix & match bundle for B1,500. The campaign calls on everyone to embrace the value of self-love and equality and endorse the message that being different doesn't mean you're wrong.
June has been chosen as the rainbow month to honour the 1969 Stonewall uprising in Manhattan, which is considered a catalyst for the gay liberation movement in the United States. A violent police raid at gay club Stonewall Inn led to street protests by patrons and neighbourhood residents. Their clash with law enforcement lasted six days. The first Pride parade took place a year later on June 28, 1970, by gay activist groups in New York and the rest is modern gay history.
(Photo © Larry Morris via The New York Times)