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Thailand: Bangkok sees first LGBTQ Pride march in years

June 5, 2022

Thousands of LGBTQ people and allies took part in the country's first Pride with local government backing. The march came as parliament considers increasing rights of same-sex couples.

A pride participant dressed in gold and wearing a rainbow flag gown draped behind them
Sunday's pride was the first one in almost 16 years in ThailandImage: Andre Malerba/Zuma/dpa/picture alliance

A celebratory march made its way through the Thai capital of Bangkok on Sunday, the first of its kind in almost 16 years.

The "Naruemit Pride 2022" event — using the Thai word for "creation" — was the result of organizational work by NGOs promoting LGBTQ rights with the support of the recently confirmed Governor of Bangkok Chadchart Sittiput.

Thousands of people made their way through the streets waving rainbow and transgender flags.

People holding raindbow flags and wearing colorful outfits
June is pride month with pride events going on around the world to celebrate and push for LGBTQ rightsImage: Anusak Laowilas/NurPhoto/picture alliance

Chants for same-sex marriage and sex workers' rights could also be heard. The Thai parliament is set to soon vote on a bill introducing same-sex unions with almost the same legal rights as married couples.

What is the situation for LGBTQ rights in Thailand?

Thailand has a largely visible LGBTQ community, but its members still face discrimination in the conservative country.

One of the spectacles of the Pride parade was the wedding ceremony, right in the middle of the event, between Anticha Sangchai and Vorawan Ramwan, according to AFP.

The Thai cabinet agreed on a proposal to increase the rights of same-sex couples but pushed back on full equality with heterosexual couples back in March.

People dressed in colorful outfits on a pride float
Thailand is a majority Buddhist countryImage: Anusak Laowilas/NurPhoto/picture alliance

"Everyone has the right of raising a family, love and marriage with anyone they love," Anticha told AFP. "Why we can't do that as a human being?"

What did the pride participants say?

One of the parade's participants, 24-year-old designer Cpeeranat, told Reuters that the event gave him goosebumps. This year's march is the first with local government backing.

Drag queen Johnnie Phurikorn, wearing a scarlet ruffled dress and red lipstick to his first pride, said to AFP: "I feel so glad and thankful to have this moment," but added that there is still more to do to support LGBTQ individuals in Thailand.

Members of the LGBTQ community dance during the Pride March in Bangkok
The pride party continued even after many participants went homeImage: LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images

Another drag queen, the 56-year-old Gun Punna, told Reuters about the need for acceptance of sexual diversity.

"I'm so happy that I get to express my identity. I get to tell people we are not despicable in society," Gun said.

ab/rt(AFP, Reuters)