Opinion: Thai pro-institution LGBTQ community must confront hurdles to achieve marriage equality

Now that the Constitutional Court has shelved the LGBTQ marriage equality ruling until December, giving no reason, it is time for all sides in Thailand’s political debates, notably the pro-institution LGBTQ community, to unify and fight for same-sex marriage rights.

Earlier this month, the gender equality network led by Feminist’s Liberation Front Thailand held an anti-government protest at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok.

One of the speakers addressed the need for constitutional amendments to legalize marriage between same-sex couples.

During the event, former government supporter turned pro-democracy Tanat Thanakitamnuay, also known as “Luk Nat,” was spotted dressed up in a fancy drag costume in support of the LGBTQ community.

Later on, Araya-Isree Ekuchukorn, a transgender actress who frequently opposes the pro-democracy movement, posted a photo of Luk Nat in drag costume on Facebook saying his getup made her feel sick.

“I am not discriminating against him, but he looks disgusting.” Araya-Isree said. “I’m not sure what category he wants to be in.”

Given Luk Nat’s effort to represent the LGBTQ community and provide space for those unheard voices, Araya-Isree’s insults not only degrade the conversation within the LGBTQ community but also jeopardize her chance to see her life better once same-sex marriage is allowed.

No one would understand the struggle of LGBTQ life better than herself. Araya-Isree worked as a nightclub performer in Silom neighborhoods under the moniker “Day Freeman” before embarking on her acting career, according to local media Thairath.

So, why did she opt to put a strain on a movement that might benefit her as a member of the LGBTQ community? And, even if she has no interest in marriage, why is she not at least concerned about the LGBTQ youth in Thailand?

The answer could not be more straightforward. It might simply be a matter of divisiveness in the nation’s political ideology that blindfolds her with prejudices and keeps her away from seeing a broader picture.

This is why those opposing the anti-government but yet wanting to see Thailand take a significant step forward in human rights will face a hard call: join forces in fighting for the legalization of same-sex marriage, or sit back and watch the world move on.

Photo credit: @mukei_reporter

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