Gays and transsexuals have been allowed to join the armed forces since 2005. Prior to this, Thailand inducted all young men except gays and transsexuals, who have been barred from serving under the "mental disorder" exemption of 1954.
Protection based on sexual orientation in lawEdit
There are no laws against gays or lesbians in Thailand. However, there are some Buddhist laws that prohibit openly gay men to enter monkhood. Transsexuals (known as Kathoey) are imbued in Thai culture via television, and cabaret shows, such as the Alcazar Theatre in Pattaya.
Recognition of same-sex couplesEdit
The news of Elton John's civil partnership brought about criticism of the government from the Thai gay community, for the lack of same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships. Despite this lack or recognition, many Thai gay and lesbian couples are open about their sexuality in public, especially in urban centres such as Bangkok, and westernized areas such as Phuket and Pattaya.
Gay life in the countryEdit
Thailand is said to have one of the most free and open gay societies in the world, however 'coming out' in families is not common. The pressure to marry is much less than in Christian-influenced, Confucian, Indian or Islamic societies.
Thailand has annual gay pride events in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket. The health authorities work together with the gay community to promote HIV education and prevention. Gay and transvestite actors also play key roles in Thai movies and soap operas.
Between 2002 and 2007 many lesbian bars and clubs have opened in Bangkok, previously there were only lesbian parties or special events. The recent coup d'ètat has not affected the gay scene at all.