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Pro-democracy movement raises issues on LGBT and women’s rights

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Line Today

The pro-democracy movement is now shedding light on issues on gender equality and LGBT rights in Thailand. Some people at the September 19 rally in Bangkok were collecting signatures calling on the decriminalisation of abortion and prostitution. Even a booth called “Pussy Gallery” was set up where people could draw colourful vaginas, raising awareness that the colour does not value a woman.

Since a large rally in July, activists have been calling on an end to the military run government and demanding a rewrite of the constitution. The New York Times reports that young women are at the frontlines of the protests, some raising issues like abortion and taxes on menstrual products as well as outdated rules for girls at Thai schools.

A NY Times reporter spoke to female students involved in the political movement who said “The monarchy and the military have all the power in Thailand… I shouldn’t be afraid to say that men have almost all the power in Thailand.”

In the past, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha brushed off talk of gender equality. In 2016, before he became Thailand’s prime minister, the retired general said “Everyone says that we have to create justice, women and men have equal rights … Thai society will deteriorate if you think that way.” He went on to say “Outside the house, we (men) are big … At work, we (men) have the power.”

The NY Times reports women only occupy 14% of seats in parliament. Before the 2014 military coup, they only occupied 5%. The nation’s top military school and the Royal Thai Police Academy do not accept women.

Along with the Pussy Gallery at the September 19 rally, another booth encouraged participants to paint sanitary menstrual pads to send the message that a woman’s period is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. The pads were also given away for free as a protest against the tax on menstruation products.

Gender equality and LGBT rights activist Chumaporn “Waddao” Taengkliang gave a speech at the rally and said there are stereotypes, harassment and injustice in Thai society that exclude both woman and LGBT people from the right they deserve. Waddao says in Thai media, LGBT people are often portrayed as comic relief.

Winner of Drag Race Thailand Season 2, Angele Anang, was also seen at the rally. Angele says Thailand needs LGBT rights, like same-sex marriage.

“This government is no longer legitimate. They have not provided justice to everyone, whether you are an LGBT person, or whether you are a woman. They are not transparent in every aspect, such as the budget. I am here to be a part to tell them what we want.”

Pro-democracy movement raises issues on LGBT and women's rights | News by Thaiger

SOURCES: New York Times | Prachatai English

 

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    “sheading”?!

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    Let’s be honest – whatever else it may or may not have done, or however popular or legitimate it may or may not be, this government is still the first to do more than just talk about gay partnerships, which is all previous governments managed to do.

    • Avatar

      Rinky Stingpiece

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 9:36 pm

      meanwhile, millions are reportedly facing economic calamity, talk about priorities…

      • Avatar

        Mike

        Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 10:06 pm

        Some can walk AND chew gum. Some cannot.

    • Avatar

      Mike

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 10:05 pm

      Issan John, I’m curious what this administration has actually done for the LGBT community in Thailand? I’ve seen no laws accepting marriage or something equal. I’m just curious what.

  3. Avatar

    Geoff

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 5:03 am

    They’ve lost the plot. Trying to “fix” everything instead of sticking to their original demands.

  4. Avatar

    Mark

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 7:39 am

    My experience is there are many many women with power ! Certainly in business and education! Some of them in the latter have been the most nauseating incompetent women I have known

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 9:02 am

    I think they should stay with demanding basic rights first, like the right to have an election of the countries MPs.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 10:14 am

    The Thai cabinet approved the Civil Partnership Bill on 8 July this year – the first and all-important step in the government passing the Bill, which will normally follow in three or four months.

    It’s far from ‘their idea’ as it was proposed under the first Thaksin government, but they’re the only one to actually ‘do’ anything so deserve the credit – similarly, the Democrats and Chuan proposed the ‘yellow card’ health scheme but Thaksin rightly took the credit for that as it was his government that passed it.

    If / when passed it will give virtually the same rights as marriage (tax, inheritance, adoption, next of kin, pension, property, etc), similar to Civil Partnership in the UK. AFAIK the only part that isn’t clear is visas for ‘partnered’ farangs.

  7. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 10:29 am

    I’ve got to go along with you and Toby A there. The more ‘extras’ there are to the protests, from LGBT rights to tax-free tampons, the less significance the core issues have.

    That’s not to say the other issues aren’t important, but it’s a question of priorities, and attention that’s given to the Pussy Gallery, et al, is attention that’s lost to the pro-democracy protest.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Bangkok. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Crime

Thai woman admits to stealing lottery tickets from blind ticket seller in Bangkok

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A 57 year old Thai woman is admitting to stealing lottery tickets from a blind seller in Bangkok. The woman, Sumali Muangpluem, is now under arrest for allegedly stealing from the disabled seller in the underground Sutthisan Station train between November 25-27 of last year. Sutthisan police say they collected evidence of the same type of theft in many districts, leading them issuing an arrest warrant for Sumali.

Police say their investigations revealed that the suspect would approach blind lottery ticket sellers while holding several tickets in her left hand. She would then use the right hand to pretend she was choosing a ticket and pull all of the tickets off at once so that the lottery seller would only hear one ticket being pulled. She would then hand some tickets to the seller while she hid the rest so onlookers wouldn’t notice. She would then put the tickets in her bag while talking to the seller at the same time to keep her from noticing.

They say the suspect would then tell the seller she would be back to get the tickets and would leave money for the seller in the form of a deposit. One seller said he was keeping in regular touch with police as the same woman kept stealing lottery tickets from other blind sellers. He says he is afraid the suspect may hurt him because he filed a police report against her.

Police say Sumali has stolen about 450 tickets, valued at over 45,000 baht. They say she has stolen tickets at Victory Monument, Payathai, and Bang Na train stations in Bangkok.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

 

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Bangkok

Bangkok governor extends closure order due to high Covid-19 count

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo by Russell Davies for Flickr

Bangkok’s temporary closure order will be extended until May 17 to slow the spread of Covid-19. Since April, more than 16,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the capital. Surrounding provinces Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, and Nonthaburi have also reported high numbers of cases.

The temporary closure order, signed by Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, was initially set to be in effect from April 26 to May 9. On Friday, the governor signed an order extending the closure order until May 17 due to the spike in cases in the capital.

Schools, tutoring centres, and other educational institutes must remain closed. Entertainment venues, billiard halls, arcades, internet cafes, zoos, skating rinks, boxing stadiums, and fitness centres must remain closed. Convenience stores can stay open until 10pm. Shopping malls can stay open until 9pm.

Despite closure measures and disease control restrictions, cases in Bangkok have remained high with an uptick of infections reported in the crowded neighbourhoods, such as the Khlong Toey slum.

Bangkok has also been classified as a “deep red” zone by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The deep red zone is under the highest control to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Under orders from the CCSA, restaurants in Bangkok cannot offer dine-in services. Only takeaway and delivery services are allowed until the Covid-19 situation improves.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Politics

Deputy PM declares Thammanat Prompow controversy finished

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand's Deputy Agriculture Minister Prompao talks to reporters after a government cabinet meeting in Bangkok (via Reuters)

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the debate is over regarding Thammanat Prompow, the controversial Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives and influential Palang Pracharath Party ‘fixer’.

The Constitutional court has already ruled that he is qualified to hold office under Thai law and will keep his position, though a huge backlash followed the ruling, and the public wondered how his 1993 heroin trafficking conviction in Australia. Then using the name ‘Manat Bophlom’, he was convicted of conspiring to import a traffic able amount of heroin, serving 4 years of a 6 year sentence.

According to Wikipedia, Thammanat parliamentary declaration of assets in August 2019 listed “2 wives, 7 children, and a net worth of about $42 million, including a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz along with 12 Hermès and 13 Chanel handbags, luxury watches, and Thai Buddha amulets.”

Thai law says that no one who has been convicted of an indictable offence is eligible to hold public office, but the new decision seems to imply that anything that happens outside of Thailand’s border does not qualify. A legal expert, the Deputy PM says that this ruling is not in opposition to the rules about convicts holding office.

He says that a conviction by Australia’s New South Wales Court is not legally binding in Thailand and therefore does not disqualify Thammanat. Only a jail sentence from a Thai court would be considered a roadblock to a candidate being confirmed to hold government office.

Thai immigration law, however, determines that convictions in home countries will bar people from entry into Thailand. The decision also calls into question the legitimacy of the Australian/Thailand extradition treaty which saw Thammanat deported back to Thailand after serving 4 years of his 6 year sentence.

But the Council of State had declared that someone in jail for 2 years cannot hold office within 5 years of release, regardless of whether the jailing was in Thailand or in another country. The 4 year jail term Thammanat served in Australia ended in 1997 so the 5-year grace period has already passed.

The Deputy PM says that this ruling by the Constitutional Court does set a new precedent for future issues of possible MP candidates that may have been in trouble with the law outside of Thailand. But he stopped short of supporting Thammanat’s prior conduct unconditionally, declining to comment.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has been under pressure to investigate Thammanat and whether his conduct has been ethical. The Deputy PM said that the Constitutional Court ruling does not whitewash any other issues Thammanat may face.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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