By The Nation
Several MPs from the party on Thursday they would press ahead with their demand for the committee, even after the House ad-hoc committee on House meeting regulations concluded that sexual diversity and gender equality should be put under the work scope of an already established House committee.
The ad-hoc committee has suggested that the House committee on children, youth, women, the elderly, and those with disabilities can be renamed to cover the sexually diverse, and its work scope expanded to cover sexual diversity.
Although Future Forward Party MP Tanwarin Sukkhapisit was partially satisfied with the ad-hoc committee’s decision, his group wanted more.
Speaking at the same press conference, MP Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat – also from Future Forward Party – said it was necessary for Thailand have a House committee specifically devoted to sexual diversity and gender equality.
“In reality, there are probably nearly seven million LGBTs in Thailand. Simply put, LGBTQs account for abut 10 per cent of the Thai population,” he pointed out.
He said a 2016 survey by LGBT Capital suggested that Thailand had the fourth largest LGBTQ community in Asia Pacific. Back then, the LGBT population in Thailand was estimated at more than four million. He said there must have been many more LGBTQ people, but they had refused to openly disclose their sexual orientation.
Tunyawaj added that research by international organisations also showed that Thailand still lacked adequate legal protections for the sexually diverse.
“For example, same-sex marriages are still not allowed in Thailand. Neither can one change one’s sex in official documents to reflect one’s current gender,” he pointed out.
He added that although there is a law on gender equality, its enforcement was still too slow to prevent actual discrimination on the basis of gender.
Tunyawaj said that no one should forget that Thailand, as a member of the United Nations, needed to honour its duty under several international conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which address sexual-diversity issues.
Kanasit Puangampai, who heads Future Forward Party’s work panel on gender equality, said establishing a House committee on the issue would be a key mechanism to ensure the protection of LGBTQ people.
Nateepat Kulsetthasith, another MP from Future Forward Party, urged other MPs to support the creation of a House committee on sexual diversity and gender equality.
“It will be a crucial step for gender equality to in reality materialise in Thailand,” she said.
Nateepat, Kanasit, Tunyawaj and Tanwarin are members of the LGBTQ community and campaigned for LGBTQ rights in the recent election.