Toward Economic Inclusion of LGBTI People in Thailand

Thailand can become a leader in the economic inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) people, so all Thai people can share equally in the country’s opportunities and prosperity, according to a new report, Economic Inclusion of LGBTI Groups in Thailand, prepared by the World Bank, in partnership with the Faculty of Learning Sciences and Education, Thammasat University, Love Frankie, and the Nordic Trust Fund.  Representatives, from Thailand’s Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, civil society, the private sector, academia, and international development partners came together today in a public forum to discuss the findings and conclusions of the report.

“This report helps us to look at the issues of the LGBTI community and how these can be addressed by everyone who has a stake in making the Thai economy grow even better by encouraging all productive people, regardless of sexual orientation, to participate in the workforce of Thailand,” said Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit, National Human Rights Commission of Thailand.

Drawing on the results of the first large and statistically significant surveys of LGBTI and non-LGBTI people’s attitudes and experiences with economic inclusion in Thailand, along with case studies and international experience, the report finds, for example, that most Thais are not aware of the legal rights and non-discrimination protections that LGBTI people enjoy in Thailand, and that many LGBTI people, and especially transgender men and women, face significant exclusion and hardships in the job market and at work. The report offers policy and program recommendations to promote inclusion, such as a public campaign to promote awareness of gender equality legislation; the development and implementation of an equality and nondiscrimination in employment and occupation law that prohibits discrimination by Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI); and the incorporation of gender equality and SOGI non-discrimination in pre- and in-service training for school administrators and teachers.

“As part of its national transformation and promotion of the new, modern ‘Thailand 4.0’ at home and internationally, Thailand has the opportunity to advance and foster the inclusion of LGBTI people in its economy and society,” said Dr. Ulrich Zachau, Director of Thailand, Malaysia, and Regional Partnerships. “Only by including LGBTI people can Thailand mobilize the strengths and full productive potential of all its people.  LGBTI inclusion is the right thing to do, and it’s the smart thing to do.”