Inspired by their success, Bangkok group aims to host World Pride in 2027
Following the success of Bangkok Pride 2022, community-based organiser Bangkok Naruemit Pride has set its sights on bidding to host WorldPride in 2027.
The lofty ambition, however, faces several challenges, as Thailand has yet to meet several equality and human rights criteria.
Meanwhile, the organiser has announced June 4, 2023 as the date for the LGBTQIA parade in Bangkok with new highlights under the theme “Beyond Gender”.
WorldPride is a global event licensed by InterPride, with different host cities every 2-3 years. The first WorldPride took place in Rome in July 2000.
In 2019, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras won the bid to host WorldPride in 2023, ahead of Houston, USA and Montreal, Canada.
The event draws visitors from around the world. The social movement promoting equality and diversity has been growing strongly in many countries, impacting travel, tourism, and the economy.
Thailand plans to bid for hosting rights of WorldPride in 2027, but to qualify, the country needs a law supporting gender recognition and marriage equality.
“Currently, Thailand has only passed one act on promoting gender equality, but we need laws supporting LGBT on marriage equality and gender recognition to qualify to host WorldPride,” said Chumaporn Taengkliang, an LGBTQIA+ rights activist.
Last June’s successful Naruemit Pride parade under the concept of “Unity & Diversity” saw 13,000 people take part. The Bangkok Pride inspired other LGBTIQ+ communities and individuals to hold similar events in other provinces.
The organiser has been formed as a social enterprise to draw LGBTQIA+ groups and communities to work together.
In 2022, such gay pride-related parades and events took place 20 times in 12 different provinces with over 10,000 participants in Bangkok, and media from 15 countries covered the event.
At a press conference held at Bangkok Art & Culture Centre on Thursday to announce the 2023 event, Jarun Kongmun, a leader of Bangkok Naruemit Pride, said: “Naruemit Pride parade 2022 was a phenomenon with more than 50 global news agencies reporting and drawing the attention of online media.”
“According to ‘Think with Google research’, the search for the word 'LGBTQ' had increased by 110% and search for 'marriage equality' had increased by over 800%. With 3 million engagements for marriage equality and 500,000 engagements for Bangkok Naruemit Pride, it shows recognition for the community and spark,” said Abhisit Vongchandra, another leader of Bangkok Naruemit Pride.
This year’s concept, “Beyond Gender”, will emphasis three main points: gender recognition, marriage equality, and sex work is work.
It would aim to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion among the public while encouraging the Thai LGBTQIA+ and diverse communities to speak up against stigmatisation and discrimination, the organisers said.
“We plan to hold an exhibition, including a collection of all Y series and Yuri series [gay and lesbian series] in Thailand, including fan meets,” said Anucha Boonyawatana, president of the Thai Film Directors Association.
Pattaya community gay pride will be held every second Saturday in June at Jomtien beach, Pattaya.
Tak province will invite the gay community from Myanmar to join and Chiang Mai plans to hold the parade finale of the year.
“We support pride, and the BMA [Bangkok Metropolitan Administration] is the best unifier in bringing the community together. I hope that all departments in Thailand will support the community,” said Sommai Aiemsaad, adviser to the Political Development Commission.
Sanon Wangsrangboon, deputy governor of the BMA, told the press conference, “Pride is not just an event but an elevation of thought so this topic is remembered. I hope this event will bring Thailand success with WorldPride and in becoming a rainbow city in the future.”
“The city is behind you,” Sanon added.
The parade will be held on June 4, from noon to midnight, starting at Lumpini Park along Ratchadamri Road and ending at Central World. Covering 1.5km, at least 30,000 people are expected to take part.
Twenty provinces in Thailand will participate this year.
Activities will include fashion shows, mini concerts, drag shows, food, and drink booths and LGBTQIAN+ product booths.
Globally, gay pride month is observed in June, but national gay pride events can occur at different times throughout the year in other countries.
Pride parades celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride. The events sometimes also serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage.