‘Are We Not Human?’: Future Forward MP Weeps as Gender Committee Voted Down

Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, second from the left, and Nathiphat Kunsetthasit, third from the left, and fellow Future Forward MPs during a press conference at the Parliament on Aug. 22.
Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, second from the left, and Nathiphat Kunsetthasit, third from the left, and fellow Future Forward MPs during a press conference at the Parliament on Aug. 22.

BANGKOK — A Future Forward MP broke down in tears after a bid to establish a committee on gender diversity was voted down by the Lower House on Thursday.

The proposal to set up a house committee on gender diversity was rejected during a Thursday parliamentary vote 365 to 101, with 13 abstentions. The proposal was initiated by Future Forward MPs Tanwarin Sukkhapisit and Nathiphat Kunsetthasit.

“We tried our best to secure the vote,” Tanwarin, who identifies as kateoy, said. “We talked to other parties who promised to protect LGBT rights during their election campaigns, so we expected a higher number of votes than this.”

Tanwarin said she had hoped the committee would be a mechanism for pushing LGBT rights. The committee would have joined 35 existing committees that cover a variety of issues from agriculture to human rights. Consisting of 15 MPs each, they conduct studies and consider bills before they’re voted on in the Lower House.

Speaking to the press after the vote, Tanwarin announced the result in tears.

“Gender diversity is as important as national income,” Tanwarin said. “Are these seven million people not human?”

“We will push for the establishment of a subcommittee on gender diversity, and an amendment to Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code to allow marriage between anyone, not just men and women,” Tanwarin continued.

As of now, matters related to LGBT rights will continue to be handled by the youth and women’s committee.