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House Rejects LGBTQ Honorific Bill

In a decisive move, the House of Representatives has rejected the proposal allowing individuals from the LGBTQ community to select their own honorific name prefixes. The opposition Move Forward party has expressed firm determination to continue advocating for this bill’s passage, despite its dismissal during Wednesday’s parliamentary session.

Move Forward party-list MP Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat emphasized the party’s unwavering commitment to advancing the bill in future parliamentary sessions, underscoring their support for LGBTQ individuals. Tunyawaj’s colleague, Paramee Waichongcharoen, echoed this sentiment, expressing a personal aspiration to one day eliminate the prefix “Mister” from his own name. Waichongcharoen also raised doubts regarding the sincerity of government coalition parties and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin regarding equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

The rejection of the bill came following a lengthy debate, with the House voting 256 to 152 against it, with one abstention. The bill, originally proposed by Tunyawaj and supported by several party MPs, failed to garner sufficient support for passage.

Before the debate commenced, Pheu Thai MP Akkaranan Kankittinan urged Tunyawaj to withdraw the bill from the agenda and await similar proposals from civic groups. However, Tunyawaj stood firm, refusing to accede to the request.

Tunyawaj highlighted the absence of legislation guaranteeing LGBTQ individuals the right to choose their honorifics, leaving them with prefixes associated solely with their sex at birth or marital status, such as Mr., Mrs., or Miss. He underscored the discomfort experienced by many LGBTQ individuals due to honorifics that do not align with their chosen gender, impacting their daily lives.

The core principle of Tunyawaj’s bill, he explained, is to establish in law the right to self-determination and the ability to select one’s gender identity.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP Thirachai Saenkaew cautioned that any legislation must align with Thai societal norms and should not introduce extreme measures that could exacerbate existing issues. Saenkaew cited examples from Sweden and Finland, emphasizing the complexities involved in individuals choosing their gender or honorifics, often requiring extensive consultations with psychiatrists.

Echoing support for LGBTQ rights, another Pheu Thai MP, Anusorn Iamsa-ard, emphasized that individuals should take pride in their chosen gender identity, irrespective of the honorific used.

The current legal framework in Thailand restricts transgender individuals from changing their honorifics, with transgender women compelled to use the prefix “Nai” (Mister) on official documents, unable to adopt “Nang-sao” (Miss).

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