Transgender lecturer at Thammasat fired for inappropriate behaviour

A famous university in Bangkok has decided to fire a transgender lecturer, saying that she behaved inappropriately in the media.

Kath Khangpiboon, 28, a transgender lecturer of the Faculty of Social Administration of Thammasat University, the second oldest university in Thailand, on Tuesday night posted on her Facebook profile that the university’s administrative committee decided to fire her after she had been teaching for about 10 months.

According to Kath, the committee agreed to discontinue her employment at a meeting in early March.

The university cited the lecturer’s inappropriate behaviour and speech as the main reasons for the decision.      

Kath quoted on Facebook the university’s announcement to fire her. “[Kath] has behaved inappropriately and used inappropriate language in the media, which affected her image as a university lecturer.” 

Kath holds a letter questioning the Thammasat University administration about her employment which she submitted on 6 March 2015 at the Tha Prachan Campus of the university in Bangkok (file photo)

Kath said that she will submit a letter to the university’s administration to question if the university’s decision to fire her is related to her gender.

“We never know who likes or dislikes us, but the decision-making process [to hire lecturers] must have standards and be fair to me. I think that it is possible that [the university] used gender issues as part of the [employment] criteria,” Kath said.

She pointed out that the university never before used personal behaviour or expression as criteria to employ lecturers.

The transgender lecturer added that the university did not specify in detail as to what sort of inappropriate behaviour or expressions made her ineligible to be a lecturer.

Last year, Thammasat University’s decision to hire Kath caused a stir in many social media outlets, with many questioning the appropriateness of employing transgender persons to work in the field of education.

Kath graduated with both bachelor and master degrees in Social Administration from Thammasat University. She is one of the most active voices in the LGBT community in Thailand and is engaged in work to promote LGBT rights and gender issues with several civil society organisations.

She applied for a lecturer position at the Faculty of Social Administration of Thammasat University’s campus in Lampang, in northern Thailand, in February 2014.