#Thailand

Thailand Is Celebrating Openly Gay Tennis Player Luksika Kumkhum's Big Win In Mumbai

One of the four openly LGBTQ professional tennis players in the world just won big at the Mumbai Open.

While Thailand is preparing to officially recognize gay unions, citizens should already recognize the talents of one gay women who’s successfully representing them.

25-year-old Luksika Kumkhum is the only openly gay professional tennis player from Thailand and one of four openly gay professional tennis players in a major tennis event this year, according to Out Sports.

Being a minority in that sense has not affected her game whatsoever. In fact, it makes her accomplishments all the more noteworthy.

Luksika Kumkhum blazed a path of victory at the WTA Mumbai Open. During the final, she beat Russia’s Irina Khromacheva and is now preparing to compete in matches in China and Taiwan.

Despite her success, Luksika Kumkhum has continued to field questions about her sexuality and her gender identity.

“I’m used to it now,” she told The Indian Express. “When I go to another country, they’re surprised. They’re like, ‘oh, you’re a man, right?’ I say no, I’m a woman. But then they don’t say anything. They just say OK and that’s that.”

She also remarked how her country, which is recognized as one of the most accepting Asian countries for LGBTQ foreigners, still has room to grow in terms of accepting its own LGBTQ citizens.

“It’s still not like Taiwan, where you can marry and all, but people at home accept it a bit more. But there is still the old thinking,” says the 25-year-old. “I’m comfortable with this. There are so many people in the world who are gay, but you’re still a person. If I’m doing good, and I haven’t killed anyone, then it’s fine.”

That said, being such a successful athlete will spotlight the contributions that LGBTQ people offer the country. Something that’s greatly needed as talk of political protections for LGBTQ citizens continue in Thailand.

h/t: Out Sports, Indian Express

As Thailand Races Towards Same-Sex Unions, Taiwan Struggles With Religious Opposition

The race towards being the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage or civil unions continues.

In Asia, there are currently no countries that have legalized same-sex marriage or civil unions. While Israel, Hong Kong, and Armenia recognize foreign marriages, they don’t license domestic ones. In fact, Armenia has a ban on domestic same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, some cities in Japan, Taiwan, and Cambodia provide limited rights to same-sex couples, such as hospital visitations, which are being treated by citizens as city-based civil unions.

But again, no Asian country has yet to fully legalize country-wide same-sex marriage or civil unions. The two closest countries so far are Taiwan and Thailand.

While Taiwan’s highest court ruled that Article 972 of the Civil Code, which states that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional back in 2017, the law has yet to be updated.

This is mostly due to the court giving lawmakers until the start of 2019 to change the law. Unfortunately, politicians have yet to make that change.

On top of that, religious groups have heavily advocated for the banning of same-sex marriage in the country. This eventually led to the approval of a referendum (public vote) on the issue last week. The Central Election Commission has yet to set a date for the vote, but it will most likely happen in November.

While we all celebrated the fact that Taiwan would become the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, that title is now in potential danger.

If the majority of voters vote against marriage equality, Taiwan’s lawmakers could make an argument to keep the definition of marriage as it is. Keep in mind, this all would have to happen before 2019, or marriage equality will take effect anyway. (Though, the religious groups & politicians could reverse the law later).

Meanwhile, Thailand is getting closer to beating Taiwan in this race.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Will u marry me? Yes! #gaylove #painting #illustration #gay #gaylife #gaymarry # #gaycouple

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Back when Taiwan’s high court made the now famous court decision, Thailand’s politicians announce that they were working on a bill dubbed the Civil Partnership Act.

That bill has been in the works for almost a year now and is allegedly in its final stages. A final draft was presented back in July, and now is expected to be passed by February of next year, according to Nikkei Inc.’s Asian Review.

That said, the civil partnership will be limited. While same-sex couples will enjoy benefits and rights like inheritance rights, welfare benefits, hospital rights, and tax breaks, some rights are being purposefully left off like adoption rights.

With the way things are progressing in both Taiwan and Thailand, it looks like it will be a photo finish in the race towards gay partnerships. Will Taiwan’s religious groups shift the course before the law is automatically instated in 2019? Will Thailand legalize same-sex unions before Taiwan settles itself?

We’ll find out, at the latest, in January and February of this coming year.

Gay Chinese Citizens Are Buying Homes In Thailand To Flee From Their Anti-Gay Government

More and more LGBTQ Chinese people are leaving cities and towns in China for more accepting locations.

Last May, we shared with you the story of LGBTQ Chinese people leaving their home-born country for the more inclusive country of New Zealand. That said, it looks like that’s not the only location that they are fleeing to.

The Bangkok Post and Juwai.com report that Bangkok and Phuket are the top two destinations in Southeast Asia for LGBTQ Chinese people.

With China constantly going back and forth with its treatment of LGBTQ people, many have fled in order to find solace elsewhere. It seems that these two cities in Thailand have become a home, or at least second home, for many Chinese citizens (gay or otherwise).

Carrie Law, the chief executive for real estate company, Juwai.com, shared that Chinese people have made 32.7 billion baht (about 1 Billion US dollars) worth of inquiries into Bangkok buildings in the past 18 months. LGBTQ people have made about US$50-80 million of those inquiries.

"They want to own property in a place they can feel comfortable visiting and living in," said Law.

This is an argument that former Chinese residents Tracey Bo and Effie Liu can attest to.

"In China, there is a stigma about being a lesbian and we face strong pressure from family and society," said Bo to the New Zealand Herald.

"We found it is impossible to settle there."

That said, the inclusiveness is only part of the reason for increase in Chinese home buyer when it comes to Thailand. The other part is because of how cheap Bangkok and Phuket are in comparison to Chinese cities.

Bangkok is one-sixth as expensive as housing in Hong Kong, according to Juwai.com. In addition, these houses are often more spacious and come with more features/amenities.

On the lower end of the spectrum, many Bangkok condominiums start at $130,000. 

While the Chinese government will continue to decide whether it really wants LGBTQ people or not, it seems some are leaving ahead of time and making a hope in Thailand. Honestly, we can’t blame them.

h/t: Bangkok Post, Juwai.com

Thailand's Politicians Are Finishing Up The Final Draft Of Their Civil Partnerships Bill

Ever since Taiwan announced that it would legalize gay marriage (though, religious groups are trying to thwart that effort), many have wondered which Asian country would become the second to allow same-sex marriage.

With Thailand's general tolerance and almost acceptance of LGBTQ people, many guessed it would come second. Unfortunately, the country isn’t ready for same-sex marriage just yet, but it is working towards creating equal civil unions.

A subcommittee of the Justice Ministry is finishing up preparations for their draft of a Civil Partnership Bill, according to GayStarNews.

This Bill has been in the works since earlier this year when a petition for the government to work on gay rights led to its inception.

If passed, the Bill will give same-sex couples most of the same rights as their straight peers. These rights will include inheritance rights, welfare benefits, the right to adopt, hospital rights, and tax breaks. That said, the bill won’t give same-sex couples the right to use the same last name.

While this bill seems promising, it has a long journey ahead of itself before it becomes law. This includes several public hearings and private meetings.

It was at a recent public hearing that Pitikan Sithidej, the chief of the Right and Liberties Protection Department, shared the Bill should be ready by the end of September.

 “The bill is now being vetted by the ministry. We expect to finish considering it by the end of September. After that, it will be forwarded to the cabinet for approval before being submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for deliberation,” said Pitikan Sithidej. 

We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the LGBTQ citizens of Thailand.

h/t: GayStarNews

Fans Of Gay Thai Drama "Love By Chance" Are Struggling To Get The Series Released

A Thai BL drama is currently in dire circumstances.

BL, or Boys’ Love, is a popular genre in the Asian continent. The comics, video games, movies, and tv series are often made by women for women, but focus on gay romance and sexuality in a way similar to how straight men indulge in lesbian content.

That said, for many Asian countries, BL content is the primary source of gay representation in entertainment media. That is especially true for the BL dramas found on Thailand’s MCOT channel.

A recent issue with an upcoming BL drama is spotlighting a potential problem with the genre and gay representation in Thailand overall.

The drama Love By Chance was expected to release in late May.

Love By Chance follows a romance between college freshmen. Pete is a handsome and popular man who’s also constantly being bullied for being gay. When a classmate named Ae jumps in to defend him, the two set up the deal to have Ae become Pete’s new bodyguard.

Unfortunately for Pete, he starts to develop feelings for his newfound friend and hero, but perhaps the feeling is mutual.

The series was fully produced earlier this year, promoted with its cast on several tv talk shows, and scheduled for release on the popular Channel 9 MCOT on May 27.

That said, the channel announced that the series would be postponed indefinitely on May 24.

New, the director of the series, then shared that he was in talks with the channel’s executive board to see if he needed to edit out scenes in order to get the greenlight for release.

Many who are familiar with the genre and channel were surprised by this sudden postponement. This is because MCOT has aired several dramas with gay storylines or side stories such as Love Sick the Series, Part-Time the series, Make it Right the Series, and My Bromance: The Series.

What many suspect to be the problem was that there was recent change to the channel’s Executive Board. Now, the new leadership wants MCOT to have a “white channel” image and sees the gay content as immoral, according to Matichon Online.

Afterwards, there was no news about the series for three weeks, and fans became restless.

 

But two days ago, Director New shared in a live stream video chat that he’s currently in talks with LineTV to see if they will distribute the show.

Line is a popular social media and texting app that’s used in several Asian countries. On top of that, LineTV is a Netflix-esque streaming platform that’s connected to the app.

While this new LineTV situation could be a saving grace for the series, there is one catch. He says the execs over at LineTV want to see if there is enough of an audience to warrant airing Love by Chance. As such, they’ve asked for a challenge.

New shared that the trailer for the series, found above, has to reach 1 Million views before they consider airing the show.

With MCOT seemingly cutting ties with Love By Chance, and possibly gay content over all, it looks like LineTV and this trailer are its only hope.

Thailand's Politicians Are Drafting A Same-Sex Partnership Bill

Thailand is now one step closer towards legally recognizing same-sex couples.

Yesterday, a subcommittee in the Justice Ministry announced that they are working on a bill that, if passed, will make same-sex partnerships legal in the country.

The subcommittee is set to meet on May 4 before presenting the final draft of the bill to the Ministry. If it passes there, it will then need to go through the Cabinet for approval.

After Taiwan announced last year that it would be legalizing same-sex marriage, we wondered which Asian country would be next. Thailand seems like a good bet due to its reputation as being LGBTQ friendly. That said, the country still has its homophobes, bigots, and intolerant religious folk who are holding the country back from progression.

As such, it seems that even Thailand needs to go at a baby crawl in order to get to marriage equality.

That said, we should not take away from this step in the right direction as many LGBTQ citizens have expressed.

When talking to Nation Multimedia, several LGBTQ citizens shared that this is exciting news.

As the Nation reports:

“Patthanan Prapairat, 38, said he has been with his same-sex partner for more than 20 years They have bought a house, run a clothing business together and have built a family life like any other straight couple

If the new law is implemented, they say they will definitely register their partnership. ‘It is a must-have that should have been in place years ago as it would be very helpful in protecting the rights of same-sex couples,’ he said ‘Same-sex couples are no different from straight couples We have accumulated a lot of assets and heritage together This law will be great for us.’”

In addition, 50-year-old Vitaya Saeng-aroon shared that he’s dealt with the problems of not having same-sex partnership status and would love to have the same rights as married couples.

“When my same-sex partner was in ICU earlier this year, I was not permitted to sign any document after he went into a coma I was not his relative, even though I had been taking care of him for over a year I had to wait for his brother from upcountry to show up,” Vitaya said

“After a week in ICU, he passed away peacefully I did not know about his death until his brother called me,” he added

If the bill is passed, couples like Vitaya Saeng-aroon and his late lover will not have to go through such tragedies.

Unfortunately, we have to wait a week to see if the bill wil succeed or not, but we will keep you all updated when that ruling passes.

h/t: Nation Multimedia

Gay Coming-Of-Age Film "The Wound" To Play In Thailand's Capital

The Cinema Diverse Series is a popular event in Thailand. Through it, directors pick films that they would like to see and then talk about with a devoted cineophile audience. It was recently announced that they'll show next the South African movie The Wound.

We’ve covered many stories concerning The Inxeba or The Wound due to the large controversy surrounding the film in its home country of South Africa.

The film centers around the coming-of-age ritual of the amaXhosa tribe, the second largest ethnic group in South Africa. Specifically, the film focuses on a man who guides the young men of the tribe during the ritual process. It just so happens that the main character is also gay and in the middle of a gay relationship that also gets spotlighted in the film.

The Wound was ultimately picked by director and writer Anucha Boonyawatana who’s mostly known for the work Malila of The Farewell Flower. Her film was well received and won the Kim Jiseok Award at Busan International Film Festival in 2017. In addition, her work for the movie earned Anucha a nomination for Best New Director at the 12th Asian Film Awards this year.

“It’s an African gay film that focuses on rural life and culture which speaks to me. There are several components in the film that I find intriguing and some of them can be seen in Malila as well,” said Anucha to Nation Multimedia.

Despite its major controversy, The Wound has also done well for itself abroad and was shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film award in the most recent Academy Awards.

After the film’s screening, Anucha Bonyawatana will talk about The Wound and then facilitate a Q&A about the movie, her writing, and her directing styles.

If you are interested in buying tickets for this event, you can find more information here.

Thai Drag Queens Hope "Drag Race Thailand" Will Bring Drag & LGBTQ Lives To Mainstream Eastern Eyes

Drag queens and LGBTQ creatives are hoping the new Thai version of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will bring LGBTQ people to the forefront of Thai citizen’s minds.

Despite being a conservative Buddhist country, Thailand is known as a LGBTQ-friendly country. This is partially due to its abundant gay night scene and the society’s acceptance of a third gender.

This increasing acceptance of LGBTQ people has led to the World Bank declaring that Thailand could become a world leader in work inclusiveness.

That said, the country still isn’t as liberally minded as Western countries and is dealing with gender and sexual equality issues such as not legalizing same-sex marriage.

But as 29-year-old Pan Pan Narkprasert sees it, there could be a change coming in the country.

Bangkok resident Pan Pan is a professional drag queen who performs at a weekly show in the Silom nightlife area of the nation’s capital. On top of that, he is now a co-host of the newly released “Drag Race Thailand.”

Last year, we shared with you the news that Thailand would be getting its own version of cult-classic-turned-mainstream-entertainment “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The show premiered last month, and has earned steady viewing numbers since.

Pan Pan hopes that the growing popularity of the show in Thailand will help give attention to the drag scene in the country and to LGBTQ people in general.

"The drag scene is growing so much more because of shows like 'Drag Race Thailand' and 'RuPaul's Drag Race'," Pan Pan told Reuters.

"Thailand's drag scene is new and fresh because drag is a form of Western culture, but Thai people are really interested in it."

In addition, Piyarat Kaljareuk, who’s the executive producer of "Drag Race Thailand", says he wants to help make drag queens in Thailand as mainstream as RuPaul’s show has made them in America.

He believes drag queens are "artists who don't yet have a platform for expression that is widely accepted," Piyarat said.

Piyarat also says this will then bring attention to LGBTQ people in the country and their rights.

"I don't want to say one show can change the world," he said, "but I certainly hope to one day see equal rights and equal social opportunities."

h/t: Reuters

Thai Businessmen, Government Officials, And Teachers Are Searching For Ways To Support LGBTQ Workers

The World Bank recently released a report that says Thailand could become the world leader in the economic inclusion of LGBTQ people and lead as an example on how to make a country’s opportunities open to all people.

The “Economic Inclusion of LGBTI Groups in Thailand” report was created with the help of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education, Love Frankie, and the Nordic Trust Fund.

Besides stating how the country is doing well already, the report also includes policy and program recommendations to help Thailand reach its full potential. Some of these recommendations include a public marketing campaign to promote social awareness of LGBTQ issues and protection laws, countrywide training of LGBTQ issues and laws for teachers and school administrators, the creation of non-discrimination laws for the workforce, and more.

After the report was released, several organizations like Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, and members of academic institutions, private businesses, and civil organizations joined together in a public forum on Monday to talk about the report.

“This report helps us to look at the issues of the LGBTI community and how these can be addressed by everyone who has a stake in making the Thai economy grow even better by encouraging all productive people, regardless of sexual orientation, to participate in the workforce of Thailand,” said commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit from the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand.

“As part of its national transformation and promotion of the new, modern ‘Thailand 4.0’ at home and internationally, Thailand has the opportunity to advance and foster the inclusion of LGBTI people in its economy and society,” said Dr Ulrich Zachau, director of Thailand, Malaysia, and Regional Partnerships.

“Only by including LGBTI people can Thailand mobilize the strengths and full productive potential of all its people. LGBTI inclusion is the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do.”

While this is just the start of talks about the report and how to change public, private, and government policies, this could mean a great change and focus for LGBTQ people in the Asian country. 

h/t: The Nation