Commemorating LGBT Pride Month amid the chaos

Kristie A. Kenney, the United States Ambassador to Thailand, commemorated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month together with people in the LGBT community and those who support diversity in Thailand. The reception was held at the Ambassador’s Residence in Bangkok on Thursday evening. 
 
“I hope you will find the opportunity to create new friends, to create new networks, and most of all, to appreciate the diversity that makes each one of us special,” said the ambassador in an address at the beginning of the reception. 
 
 
Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney speaks at the beginning of the reception with a short video clip to promote LGBT rights.
PHOTO BY TAKATO MITSUNAGA
 
The reception followed the official proclamation by President Barack Obama of June as LGBT Pride Month. The ambassador said that she was very proud that the President took the issue seriously. 
 
She said that she believed that this kind of movement is broadly accepted and is spreading through the world. The reception gave people a place where they can freely enjoy diversity.
 
“It’s a global movement, and all people are recognizing the importance of diversity,” she said. 
 
“Once people start feeling very free to bring and introduce their partners, it’s a very open environment for everyone. You just notice the huge difference (from the outside of the reception), because no one is afraid or ashamed. The opposite! Everyone feels excited tonight.”
 
The LGBT Cake  PHOTOS BY TAKATO MITSUNAGA
 
This is the second reception at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand. The first was on the very day—June 26, 2013—that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricted marriage to that of a man and a woman. It became a historic day for the world LGBT community.
 
In Thailand, the situation remains regressive even though many Thai-LGBT activists are working hard to amend the current marriage law or realize a new civil partnership system for LGBT people. 
 
The Civil Partnership Act went before parliament last year after being proposed by the House of Representatives. However, due to the uncertain political situation, the process was unavoidably stopped.
 
“We have been working to push the rights of LGBT people, but now we don’t even know who to push on this particular issue,” said Anjana Suvarnananda, Executive Director of Anjaree, the very first LGBT organization in Thailand, during the reception.
 
“We have to wait until we have a new election, representatives in parliament and a government.”
 
She thinks that the reception is a good opportunity for the Thai LGBT community to gather and exchange ideas.
 
“This second reception was held under different conditions from last year. We have had the declaration of Martial Law, a curfew and a coup,”
 
“However, I think it’s still important that the Embassy invites the LGBT community to come to celebrate the right of LGBT people together.”