Discrimination against LGBTI still widespread

Despite being viewed by outsiders as one of the most LGBTI friendly nations on earth, research findings reveal that almost half of LGBTI respondents have experienced forms of discrimination.

On 13 November 2017, the Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education of Thammasat University published a research titled ‘LGBTI Inclusion in the Economy’.

The research titled ‘LGBTI Inclusion in the Economy’ by the World Bank was conducted with the support of the Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education of Thammasat University and a civil society group ‘Love Frankie’, and is based on a survey of 3,502 people.

According to the research findings, 46 per cent of the respondents who identify themselves as LGBTI have experienced certain forms of discrimination.

77 percent of transgenders, 62.5 per cent of lesbians, and 49 per cent of gays said that their job applicants were rejected because of their gender identification while 40 per cent of transgenders said they have experienced sexual harassment or verbal abuses about their gender at work places.

Despite the fact that Thailand in 2015 passed Gender Equality Act which criminalises unfair treatments towards people who identify themselves as LGBTI, most of the respondents said they have little knowledge that such law exists.

Adisorn Juntrasook, Associate Dean for Academic Affair of the Faculty who is the chairperson of the research project, said qualitative finding of the research shows that most LGBTI think of discrimination as a norm because they are born as LGBTI.

Such kind of thinking might have resulted partly from deeply rooted heterosexual frame of thought. Therefore, what deviates from the heterosexual norms is viewed as abnormal, Adisorn said.

He added that most LGBTI also view that the ubiquitous roles of LGBTI in certain professions most of which are related to the beauty or entertainment industry are sign of social progress rather than thinking that they should be accepted in any career.

Although it has been two years that the military government passed the Gender Equality Act viewed by many as milestone towards the recognition of LGBTI people in Thai society, the law remained under-used and its weak language still allows gender based discrimination to persist.  

Source: World Bank. LGBTI Inclusion in the Economy. Forthcoming