This is a fascinating article that highlights the paradox that is Thailand. Some strange blend of the mundane and the sacred. Where Buddhism is teaching mindfulness and compassion, yet, at the same time, it is stuck in conservative thinking that keeps women from being accepted into monkhood and the LGBTQ community on the fringes of society. And because both cultural and state approved Buddhism is like a blanket covering nearly all the people of Thailand, it causes a strange conundrum, because Thai people, in general are quite open and accepting of differences (except when they are not!).
Thailand is the home for the most sex reassignment surgeries in the world and yet LGBTQ people have not been granted full human rights. On the other hand, there is no place that I have ever been where gay and trans people are so open, present and accepted in society as they are in Thailand. Fun fact. Know what country is performs the second most sex reassignment surgeries in the world? Iran! Yep, Iran! According to Wiki, “The Iranian government’s response to homosexuality is to endorse, and fully pay for, sex reassignment surgery”. See, nothing is as you think it is!
But here’s the thing, this new civil partnership bill, although it doesn’t grant full access to societies playground, it does move things forward and in doing this, Thailand becomes the most progressive country in a very regressive region, at least when it comes to LGBTQ rights. It is strangely ironic that it is the military government that is proposing and passing this new law while the Buddhist authorities (and many in the sangha) are set against it. Again, be careful what you assume! Especially when it comes to Thailand.