First LGBTQ Protections For Thailand Come Into Effect

Yesterday saw Thailand’s first law that protects LGBTQ people come into effect with the 2015 Gender Equality Act.

This act now means that discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is punishable by up to six months in jail and a 20,000 baht fine (about £360).

The law defines “unfair discrimination among the sexes” as any action that obstructs, limites or segregates the rights of any person because they are “male or is female or has a sexual expression different from that person’s original sex.”

There was an earlier version of the law with exemptions for education, religion and the public interest but these have since been removed.

Somchai Charoenamnuaysuk, Director-General of the Department of Family Affairs and Family Development, had this to say: “Cooperation from all sectors is key in moving forward with the enforcement of this Act in order to create an equal and just society. The public plays an important role in keeping a watchful eye on cases of discrimination, providing support to LGBTI people, as well as ensuring compliance with the rules, regulations and measures.”

There is also a a civil unions bill and a new constitution that recognises transgender people under consideration.