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Gay travellers love Thailand, and Thailand loves us! So much so the Tourism Authority of Thailand just released a beautiful video focused on the LGBT market.

Watch the video below and then read on for five reasons why Thailand is a gay-friendly destination.

If you’re thinking this is just another tourism board attempting to slip their sticky fingers into our pink pockets without taking real action to support LGBT rights, think again. Here’s five fast facts on why Thailand is a true leader in LGBT rights.

5. Legal rights

Homosexual activity has been legal in Thailand since 1956

To put this in perspective, homosexuality only became legal in the USA in 2003 after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of us during Lawrence v. Texas.

4. Government protections

Sexual orientation and gender identity are specifically protected in the Thai constitution

While there are no stand alone laws protecting the LGBT community, both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are specifically mentioned and protected from discrimination in the Thai Constitution.

3. Bangkok’s gay village

Thailand has the largest and loudest gay villages in Asia

Gay travellers in Bangkok must visit Silom to experience the country’s (if not the continent’s) liveliest gay village. Outside of the capital, raucous gay districts are found in Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. Even smaller cities are peppered with cabarets and gay hangouts!

2. Military service

Thai LGBT people can serve openly in the military

Again, unlike America where Trans people were recently banned from serving, Thailand welcomes anyone into its military ranks.

1. Kathoey

Transgender people are widely accepted

While there are many roads to pave when it comes to transgender rights in Thailand, the community as a whole is widely accepted and in some ways celebrated. The popular opinion of trans people is extremely favourable and trans individuals are well represented in pop culture and Thai television. And although it was overturned last year in an unfortunate defeat, transgender people were legally allowed to change their gender from 1932 – 2018!

Header image courtesy of The Tourism Authority of Thailand.

All information taken from Equaldex and correct as of February 27, 2019.

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