Hormone access urged for LGBT inmates

Hormone access urged for LGBT inmates

The Bangkok Remand Prison
The Bangkok Remand Prison

An LGBT and transgender advocacy group has asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to help LGBT inmates access hormone medications.

The group led by Sirisak Chaited, an activist for transgender rights, sent a petition letter to rights commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit on Monday.

Signed by 134 people, the petition asked NHRC to seek the Department of Corrections' endorsement of hormone treatments for LGBT inmates.

The petition is a response to a call by LGBT inmates for better access to necessary medicines.

Many transgender inmates who have undergone gender reassignment surgery, as well as LGBT inmates who also take hormones regularly, suffer from physical and emotional impacts to the enforced cessation of their treatments, according to the petition letter.

"The problem is that the Department of Corrections perceives hormone treatment as a beauty supplement, not a medicine, while hormones are, in fact, a medicine because they are necessary for LGBT inmates' ongoing good health," said Mr Sirisak.

Without regular hormones, some inmates become unemotionally unstable and this can result in poor behaviour. It can also lead to side effects such as weight gain and hair loss, he said.

Currently, LGBT inmates have to rely on the prison black market for their treatments and this often involves them overpaying and having an unstable supply, Mr Sirisak claimed.

The group has turned to the NHRC because the rights commission had previously helped to coordinate with the Department of Corrections to provide HIV positive inmates access to antiretroviral drugs.

In addition, the group also asked NHRC to look into accusations that Payap University's Faculty of Medicine has demanded that LGBT students dress strictly in line with their officially registered gender under a threat of downgrading students who disobey the directive.

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