The Sexual Diversity Network held its second Rainbow Umbrella March in Bangkok on Saturday, November 27. 150 people with identical rainbow umbrellas snaked through the busy Siam interchange shopping area, ending on the plaza in front of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Center. There they read out their new "Open Letter to the Government."
On Monday, November 29, the letter was again formally presented, this time at a workshop at the offices of the National Human Rights Commission. The workshop may mark a new beginning of interaction with the Commission. The Commission was reorganised two years ago in ways that were sharply criticised by local and international activists. It has had a low profile. Two commissioners attended the workshop, and a few government officials. Observers came representing the embassies of France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, the Philippines and the EU. The speakers at the workshop were LGBT academics and activists.
Open letter to government
The government and/or relevant authorities must undertake programs of awareness-raising using educational systems, the media, appropriate policies, regulations and guidelines to promote, in a concrete and effective way, a balanced public understanding of the sexualities and identities of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
The government and/or relevant authorities must stop stigmatisation and discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The government and/or relevant authorities must foster free association of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in an environment that is safe, secure and free from threats and violence.
The government and/or relevant authorities must not deny or in any way hinder the access of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities to public services, education, job recruitment and promotion.
The government and/or relevant authorities must stop employing notions of public morality, public security and traditions to discriminate against people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities or in any way impair their full enjoyment of all human rights.
The government and/or relevant authorities must play the leading role in providing education on human rights and sexual rights, put in place and into concrete action legislation promoting human dignity and equality including the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights standards in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The government and/or relevant authorities must amend or enact legislation to guarantee that people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities fully enjoy all human rights on an equal basis to heterosexual men and women. This includes, but isn't limited to, legal recognition of same-sex marriage which guarantees the same benefits as opposite-sex marriage.
The government and/or relevant authorities must take into consideration and guarantee the participation at all levels of people with diverse orientations and gender identities in all spheres of life - whether social, legal, political, economic, educational, public health, media, traditional or cultural – in a non-discriminatory, equal and fair manner.
Source: Sexual Diversity Network
Douglas Sanders is a retired Canadian law professor, living in Thailand. He can be contacted at sanders_gwb @ yahoo.ca.