House to debate gender rights recognition

House to debate gender rights recognition

Move Forward-sponsored bill would expand rights for gender-diverse people

“Thailand still sticks to its binary system in terms of legal gender recognition,” says Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, the Move Forward Party MP behind the gender recognition bill that will be debated on Wednesday. (Photo: Move Forward Party)
“Thailand still sticks to its binary system in terms of legal gender recognition,” says Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, the Move Forward Party MP behind the gender recognition bill that will be debated on Wednesday. (Photo: Move Forward Party)

A legal gender recognition bill proposed by the opposition Move Forward Party is due to have its first reading in parliament on Wednesday, according to party MP Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat.

He was responding to a growing debate over the right of transgender people to choose their title on official documentation, following a revelation that a bank had given a non-binary title — Khun — to the well-known transgender actress Treechada “Poyd” Petcharat while other transgender women did not have that privilege.

The bank later claimed it was a mistake.

“Thailand still sticks to its binary system in terms of legal gender recognition,” Mr Tunyawaj said.

“And when it comes to official documentation it causes a headache to many transgender people and the people who would rather identify themselves as non-binary.”

The new “self-determined gender title bill” is one of several more draft laws that Move Forward aims to push for the sake of promoting gender equality, he said.

Other than allowing people to choose their desired gender title, the bill also aims at promoting the rights of transgender individuals to express themselves in their gender role of choice without fear of denigration, he said.

According to Mr Tunyawaj, the party has adopted the principle from Argentina and Malta, two leading nations in terms of advancing gender recognition in law.

The bill underwent public hearings in which various groups of gender-diverse people as well as representatives of the relevant state agencies gave their input.

The bill is expected to help reduce the burden on transgender and non-binary people when it comes to travel documents, workplace and school dress regulations and financial transactions.

Everyone is entitled to have self-determination in expressing and identifying their gender the way they like and feel comfortable with. It is considered a basic human right, said Mr Tunyawaj.

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