UN: LGBTs still face discrimination

UN: LGBTs still face discrimination

Members of the Foundation for SOGI Rights and Justice gather in front of the Constitutional Court in Bangkok on Nov 22 ahead of the ruling whether some Civil Code provisions on families and inhertitance are unconstitutional. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Members of the Foundation for SOGI Rights and Justice gather in front of the Constitutional Court in Bangkok on Nov 22 ahead of the ruling whether some Civil Code provisions on families and inhertitance are unconstitutional. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has reported that almost 50% of LGBT people in Thailand still face discrimination at home and school in the form of being expected to conform to heteronormative values.

Speaking at the launch of the Tolerance but not Inclusion report at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on Monday, Katri Kivioja, the programme specialist at the UNDP, said the majority of the general population (88%), especially urbanites, women and those interacting with LGBTs in social situations, have favourable attitudes towards this group of people.

"However, it is still far from inclusion when we look at how people feel about having LGBT people close to them, such as family members, fellow students and workers, and social acquaintances," she said, referring to the decline in acceptance.

In 2018-19, the UNDP conducted the study to find out the experience of discrimination against LGBTs and social attitudes towards them in Thailand, with 2,210 participants aged 18-57.

Ms Kavioja drew attention to the staggering 47.5% of LGBT people facing discrimination from family members.

"They are pressured to act in certain ways that are not true to their gender expression and marry someone of the opposite sex. [However] Mothers are found to be more accepting than fathers. It is not surprising that LGBT people (92.9%) are more likely to find support from their social networks instead of their families," she said.

Ms Kavioja pointed out that 41% of LGBTs and 61% of transgender women report being mistreated when they were students.

"The most common forms of discrimination were being told to watch their appearance, verbally attack or sexual harassment," she said.

They also experience discrimination in the workplace in terms of their role and work environment, she added.

In a panel discussion, Future Forward Party MP Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, who serves as the chairperson of the parliament committee on children, women, elderly, and people with disability and gender equality, said the Gender Equality Act is now the only legal mechanism that ensures the protection of LGBT people.

"There will be two others. The Civil Partnership Bill will enter parliament early next year. Civil society groups will also submit the revised civil and commercial code on marriage to cover the LGBT group to my committee this month. However, they must go through the Lower and Upper Houses as well as a public hearing before they come into force," they said.


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