New census system will provide correct data on LGBTQ+ community: NSO

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2024

The National Statistical Office (NSO) said on Thursday it has devised a system of collecting reliable data on the number of LGBTQ+ Thai citizens, so government bodies can finally devise suitable policies.

Kanjana Phumalee, director of NSO’s Division of Policy and Academic Statistics, said Thailand lacks a proper census system and the data collected is often inaccurate.

“But with the new data collection system, we will be able to see the way of life, health conditions and disparities they face,” she said.

The office, in coordination with ThaiHealth Promotion and Mahidol University’s Institute for Population and Social Research, is planning to conduct a population- and setting-based survey in Ratchaburi to determine gender identities.

Kanjana Phumalee

“This is the first time a survey like this is being done. This is the right time [to do this] as Thai society has started considering the LGBTQ+ community as equals,” Mahidol professor Kritaya Archavanitkul said at the survey’s launch on Thursday.

LGBTQ activist Chumaporn "Waddao" Taengkliang said having accurate statistics would serve as a crucial foundation for the government to develop appropriate policies for the community.

The most crucial laws, she said, are the Gender Recognition Bill and the Equal Marriage Bill.

The Gender Recognition Bill, which allows individuals to choose their name regardless of their gender, was rejected in Parliament in February, while the latter awaits a green light from the Senate.

Kritaya, who also serves as project adviser, said the census will initially be conducted in one province due to budgetary constraints. 

She said Ratchaburi was chosen as it has a balanced mix of developed and rural areas and has a fair economic standing.

Kritaya Archavanitkul

The survey will cover 2,400 households, 1,100 school and university students aged 15-25 and another 1,500 individuals above the age of 15. The survey will run from June to September.

“Once all the true numbers are in hand, the government will be compelled to stop neglecting LGBTQ rights,” Chumaporn said, adding that many requests from LGBTQ+ activists have been rejected by the authorities due to insufficient population statistics.