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Prime Minister of Thailand Advocates for LGBTQ+ Rights at APEC

Updated: Nov 18, 2023 16:20
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Written by Michelle Meow + Photography by Vita Hewitt

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco on Thursday Nov 16th, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand sat down with Michelle Meow, a member of the board of governors of the SF Commonwealth Club and host of Interpod podcast to discuss Thailand’s efforts to advance marriage equality, gender rights, and decriminalization of sex work.

Prime Minister Thavisin shared his intent and support behind Bangkok Pride’s bid to host World Pride in 2028. If they win the bid, Bangkok will become the first Asian country to host World Pride in the region.

Tookta Topline, Michelle Meow, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Claudia Kornchaya, Ratchakorn Tolson, Tookie Palawan Clayton and Natalie Thompson pose with the pride flag.

Although ‘GAYPEC’ was organized during APEC, the conversation with the PM of Thailand may have been one of the only conversations taking place focusing on LGBTQIA+ rights. Bangkok Pride is making an aspirational bid to host World Pride in 2028 after taking the celebration out of a 16-year hiatus in 2021.

Michelle Meow interviewed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin for The Commonwealth Club. Photo by Vita Hewitt.

If Thailand wins the bid, it will make history as the first Asian country to host World Pride. Speaking of making history, Thailand is also set to make a decision regarding marriage equality. If passed, it will be the first Southeast Asian country to pass the law, and the 3rd Asian country to do so. Making these landmark policy changes for Thailand helps bridge the gap between its social and political policies of LGBTQIA+ inclusion.

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Personally, I’m a big supporter of the young Queer movement in Thailand who have risked their lives and their voices for what they believe in. They’re fighting for our future in every way possible – from climate justice to human rights. Their impact is quite remarkable and I can’t help but be inspired by their ability to make considerable impact by working with all sectors of society, including elected leaders.

Asia holds the biggest population of the world, more inclusive policies and safe spaces for us to celebrate our joy and authenticity as human beings means the opportunity to inch closer to a more just and healthier world.

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Vita Hewitt

Vita Hewitt

Vita is a half Chinese-Malaysian, photograph taking, plant foraging, vegetable garden growing, astronaut impersonating, conceptual art creating Bay Area human. She loves exploring the intricacies of the Bay Area Art Scene.