The Life Partnership Bill still has a long bureaucratic path ahead and an election and post-election uncertainty to endure before it could become law. But its recent approval in the Cabinet was an important initial step in making Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legally recognise same-sex civil partnerships.
Brightening prospects further for Thailand’s sizeable LGBTQ community is the government’s interest in pursuing “pink dollars” – revenue derived from tourism programmes that appeal to LGBT travellers.
With a social climate widely seen as tolerant towards non-heterosexual orientations, Thailand has been called a haven for the gay and transgender lifestyle. The authorities are increasingly seeking to capitalise on that global reputation by encouraging more visits by foreign LGBT tourists, as well as the rights activists and artists who support the community.
Both the public and private sectors are preparing to host events that will appeal to that social segment.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) runs marketing campaigns aimed at LGBT tourism and, among many other plans, the Hong Kong-based Sunpride Foundation will next November be bringing Asia’s largest LGBT art exhibition to Bangkok.
“LGBTQ are seen as a high-potential market with an above-average level of disposable income,” TAT deputy governor Srisuda Wanapinyosak told The Nation Weekend. “In tourism terms, they tend to travel more frequently than the demographic average.” Read more via Thai Visa