The popular notion of Thailand, even among most transgender persons, is that it’s a country where transgender persons enjoy significant freedom and acceptance. The reality is that the transgender persons of Thailand have existed for a long time under a “benevolent enforcement” government attitude. Meaning that even though transgender persons do not have explicit protections in Thailand, they have been given some measure of protection via tradition. However, from the article:
For worse, the kathoey identity is widely stigmatized. There’s a reason so many “ladyboys” do sex work—they are often excluded from ‘upper class’ professions, rejected by their families, and marginalized. Many Thai believe that being a kathoey is karmic retribution for bad deeds in a past life. Western discourses of medicalization have contributed to third-gender people being seen as sick or disordered. More broadly, Wong of the APTN told The Daily Beast, “transgender people still face daily challenges (use of public facilities, employment, school) largely due to not having legislation on gender recognition of transgender people.”
But relying upon the good will of the smiling policeman on the corner is rarely a secure human rights strategy. Therefore, it’s quite important to take note that Thailand is proposing explicit protections for gender identity and gender expression in its new constitution. What’s more, third-gender persons would be protected as well.
In short, it’s another major advance for our people in a country where such an advance is sorely needed.