Numerous members of the LGBT community along with their allies defied the guidelines of social distancing and took to the streets in Bangkok. Their basic demand is that the LGBT community should get equal rights as other sexualities do. There were already rallies that were on and about for a few weeks now as opposed to the military government that was formed. The community raised their rainbow flags that are symbolic for their community across the globe, they danced sung songs and took jibes at the current PM Prayut-Chan-o-Cha who came into power through a military coup six years ago.
The current PM has been in power since May 2014, follow a military coup that was led by him as the then chief of the army. The coup overthrew a democratically elected government and the old constitution was done with and a new one came into existence. According to the new constitution, it becomes highly impossible to have a democratically elected government unless it has backing from the army.
Image Source: www.ucanews.com
This movement is almost like public opinion on the Civil Partnership Bill that was signed off by the cabinet earlier this month which guarantees that the same-sex union will have almost the same rights as that of a heterosexual union. An interesting fact to note here is that homosexuals couples do not have the same rights as compared to the heterosexual ones in the bill. For a lot of activists, this sounds like some rights shouldn’t be given to this particular community. For instance, the usage of “civil partners” and not “married couple” is discriminatory. Some see this as a progressive step towards the community and their rights and others seek stronger rights.
These protests have been in for a while and Saturday’s gathering (25th July) is the latest in this series of protests which go under the name of Free Youth Movement. Free Youth Movement has three demands: the dissolution of parliament, end to the military written constitution, an end to harassment of government critics. Most of the LGBT community in Thailand is quite progressive and liberal and their joining hands with the youths majorly student activists protesting for the current government to step down comes as no surprise. Although the LGBT community has greater freedom in Thailand as compared to their counterparts in other South-East Asian countries, yet you are truly free if there is a lack of general democratic freedom under the rule of power structure so rigid.
We’re here today mainly to call for democracy. Once we achieve democracy, equal rights will follow,” a 21-year-old transgender protester said. “The LGBT group [does] not yet have equal rights in society, so we’re calling for both democracy and equality.”
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