BANGKOK — A newly elected lawmaker on Thursday pledged to gather support in parliament for a same-sex marriage law.
Future Forward’s Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said a gay marriage bill is part of her party’s policy platform, and that she will try to convince other MPs to make it a reality. Tanwarin, who identified herself as a katoey, is one of several LGBT politicians who spoke at a Thursday panel to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, or IDAHOT.
“It won’t take long,” said Tanwarin, a former filmmaker.
She said Future Forward showed its commitment to LGBT issues by listing her among its top 10 party-list MP candidates, and added that four of the party’s 80 MPs are openly LGBT.
Discrimination during the election campaigning season, however, has left LGBT politicians from other parties less than optimistic.
Mahachon Party’s prime minister candidate Pauline Ngarmpring, another openly LGBT politician, said she’s disappointed by the lack of improvement in political representation.
While several foreign news outlets interviewed her in a positive light prior to the March 24 election, the Thai press treated her only as an oddity, Pauline said.
“The Thai press sees me as a clown. One asked me whether I think I am a political clown or not. I thought of asking in response whether the reporter thinks our current PM is more clownish!” she said, referring to junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.
But despite her bid for the top job, Pauline does not believe Thailand is ready for an openly LGBT prime minister.
“Perhaps the children or grandchildren of the people in this room will [see it] one day,” said Pauline, formerly a sports promoter.
Fellow Mahachon MP candidate Kritthipat Chotthanitsakun, formerly a woman but now a man, said he was ridiculed because his campaign posters still listed his title as “Miss.”
“I was discredited through all means possible. It is a small issue that we must overcome,” Kritthiphat told the audience.
Phakwilai Sahunalu, a self-described tomboy who ran for a seat in parliament under the Commoner Party, treated the election campaign mainly as an opportunity to educate voters.
“I am a woman who is a man,” he recalled explaining to one elderly woman in rural Thailand.