Thailand sees the first official pride parade in 16 years, but the struggle for equality continues

Thailand’s capital saw an explosion of glamor, gilding and glitter on Sunday as the country’s LGBTIQ + community celebrated its first Pride parade in nearly 16 years, but attendees warned that true equality was still a long way off.
Bangkok’s “Naruemit Pride 2022” – Naruemit means “creation” in Thai – was organized by a coalition of non-governmental groups with the newly ratified city governor Chadchart Sittiput also backing his weight.

Allies and people of all genders, including drag artists, prostitutes, feminists, and even some furries – people who are interested in or disguise themselves as animal characters with human personalities – have marked one of the megacity’s main passages for the first official parade since then. 2006

“I feel so happy,” said smiling drag queen Johnnie Phurikorn, who had paired her red lipstick with an exuberant ruffled scarlet dress for her first Pride.

“I feel happy and grateful to have this moment,” the 31-year-old said, but added that his country needed to do more to support LGBTIQ + people.

Although the Southeast Asian nation has a highly visible LGBTIQ + community, many still face severe obstacles and discrimination in the conservative Buddhist-majority kingdom.
“I don’t want people to think we’re different,” said Maysa Petkam, a Miss Tiffany Universe transgender beauty pageant contestant.
“We don’t want more rights than other genders, we just want fundamental rights,” she said, noting how the community is still a victim of daily discrimination.

“I wish the same-sex marriage law was passed so that there were laws that would protect and reduce gender inequality,” he added, strengthening his dizzying crown as he underlined his point.

A person holding a sign that reads "my body are my rights".

Sex worker rights activist at Bangkok’s Naruemit Pride 2022, Thailand’s first official pride parade in 16 years. sources: Getty, Light Rocket / SOPA images

A right to love

For engaged couples Anticha Sangchai and Vorawan Ramwan, the question of marriage equality was particularly pertinent.
The couple in diaphanous white dresses captured the attention of the crowd – and later social media – with their wedding ceremony in the middle of the parade.
“My beloved friends walk together and have given us a special moment in our lives,” Anticha told AFP news agency, calling the crowd experience an “honor”.

The Thai parliament has yet to legalize same-sex marriage, with the Thai government in March rejecting a proposal that recognized trade unions fairly.

The Thai parliament has yet to legalize same-sex marriage. sources: Getty, Light Rocket / SOPA images

“Everyone has the right to raise a family, love and marriage with anyone they love,” said Anticha.

“Why can’t we do it as human beings?”
As the couple moved on to the end of the official parade, the party wasn’t quite over.
A large group gathered under one of the city’s subway stations, partially blocking a main road, and gave an impromptu drag show to songs by Madonna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

It seemed destined to continue into the night as the crowds, many hanging from railings and crammed into street corners, screamed at each performance as they sang the lyrics to Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl and I Loved It.”