A Tool for Change

A Tool for Change: Working with the Media on Issues Relating to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression and Sex Characteristics in Thailand analyzes news media coverage of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC), and LGBTIQ identities across media platforms in Thailand. The research found that LGBTIQ people are often represented in the news media inaccurately, stereotypically, or without a clear understanding of SOGIE. The study recommends that a professional code of conduct on reporting SOGIESC issues be developed. The study was developed in partnership between the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Burapha University and UNDP.

Historically, in the Asia-Pacific region the portrayal of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community in media has been largely negative, reflecting the general lack of acceptance of LGBTIQ people within wider society. These negative media representations of LGBTIQ people as well as issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), as well as sex characteristics, play a role in the perpetuation and legitimization of widespread stigma and discrimination against LGBTIQ people in the Asia-Pacific region. In response to this, the Being LGBTI in Asia programme launched a regional programmatic strategy to promote media’s positive engagement on SOGIE and intersex issues in three countries: China, the Philippines and Thailand. This strategy comprised of three country-specific media studies, national media roundtables in each country, and national media fellowship programmes for strengthening the role of media in advocacy.

Hence, this media study of Thailand is one part of the wider regional media engagement strategy of UNDP’s Being LGBTI in Asia programme and aims to:

  1. Demonstrate the role of news media in reflecting and perpetuating stigma and discrimination against LGBTIQ people.

  2. Identify key trends and patterns of reporting and representations of LGBTIQ people including the volume of LGBTIQ news covered, sources, location, content, presentation of news stories and representations.

  3. Identify key issues and challenges in tackling negative and harmful media portrayals of LGBTIQ people.

  4. Provide recommendations for policy advocacy to strengthen the role of media advocacy in creating an enabling environment for discussion of the human rights of LGBTIQ people and issues of stigma and discrimination.

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