Trans Lecturer Wins Thammasat Discrimination Suit

Photo: Kath Khangpiboon / Facebook

Update March 19: A Thammasat legal representative said the university will not appeal the ruling.

BANGKOK — International Women’s Day saw a former transgender lecturer prevail in her discrimination suit against the nation’s second oldest university.

The Administrative Court on Thursday ruled in favor of Kath Khangpiboon, co-founder of the Thai Transgender Alliance, after judges ruled that Thammasat University’s decision to fire her after several months constituted discrimination.

Ending a three-year case, the court ruled that the university must register Kath as a lecturer within 60 days. 

“I’m really happy today. What the court ruled is what I’ve been waiting to hear for three years,” Kath said after the verdict. “I hope that my case will inspire many LGBT people who are discriminated against in the workplace to speak up and demand justice.”

Kath was hired as a lecturer at the school’s Lampang province campus in mid-2014. Soon after she started teaching, the university cited a penis-shaped tube of lipstick she posted on Instagram as its cause to fire her in March 2015 for “behaving improperly and using inappropriate language on social media.”

Kath, 31, accused the university of discriminating against her gender identity and filed suit.

Kath, a prominent LGBT activist in Thailand and Southeast Asia, had previously completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Administration at the university.

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