Calls for LGBTQ retirement hub

Calls for LGBTQ retirement hub

A crowd joins the Bangkok Pride 2023 parade  on June 4.  (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
A crowd joins the Bangkok Pride 2023 parade on June 4. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Thailand has the potential to boost the pink economy by attracting international LGBTQ+ seniors who are looking for a place to retire.

Speaking at a conference on "Thailand Gets Ready to Become A Key Destination for LGBT Retirement" organised in Bangkok last Thursday, Dr Chaiwat Songsiriphan, founder and medical director of the Safe Clinic, a private human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) clinic, said Thailand could be a key retiree destination for LGBTQ, as people in the country have a high tolerance of gender diversity.

"We are also known as a LGBTQ tourism destination, LGBTQ parties and nightlife entertainment," he said.

However, to be an LGBTQ retirement destination, more healthcare specialists will be needed, along with more HIV and STD clinics.

"We have fewer LGBTQ specialised healthcare units. This issue must be addressed," he said, adding the public healthcare system also needs easy access to antiretroviral drugs such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection.

Brendan Berne, an Australian ex-ambassador to France and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), and an economist, said LGBTQ retirees around the world like to travel abroad and will invest in their retirement. They will look for a retirement community that is fit for them to have their own family.

He said the growth in LGBTQ retirees will increase in the next few decades as Gen Z (born between 1997-2012) reaches retirement age. About 18% of Gen Z identified themselves as LGBTQ which is much higher when compared to the 4% of the baby boomer (born between 1946-1964) generation who identify that way.

"Amid the rise of LGBTQ, Thailand could be the very first country to catch up with this trend and create a new sector -- LGBTQ retirement," he said.

The government's support will be crucial for the pink economy to thrive in Thailand, he said.

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