11 July 2024

The opposition Move Forward party has vowed to continue to push for a bill seeking to allow members of the LGBTQ community to choose their own honorific name prefixes, after it was shot down in parliament on Wednesday.

Move Forward party-list MP Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat said that the party will not back off from its push for the passage of the bill in the next parliamentary session, adding that they are supportive of LGBTQ people.

Another Move Forward MP, Paramee Waichongcharoen, said that his highest dream is that, one day, he can remove the prefix “Mister” from his name. He questioned the sincerity of government coalition parties and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin regarding equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

The House of Representatives rejected the bill by 256:152 votes, with one abstention, after a lengthy debate. The bill was proposed by Tunyawaj and seconded by several of the party’s MPs.

Before the start of the debate, Pheu Thai MP Akkaranan Kankittinan asked Tunyawaj to withdraw his bill from the agenda and to wait for two similar bills, proposed by civic groups, but the Move Forward MP refused to do so.

Tunyawaj said that, even though the Constitution guarantees human dignity and gender equality, there is still no law which guarantees the rights of LGBTQ people to choose theirhonorifics and they must accept those associated with their sex at birth or marital status, namely Mr, Mrs or Miss.

He said that many LGBTQ individuals are embarrassed bytheir honorifics, as they do not reflect their chosen gender, which also affects their livelihood.

The MP said that the main principle of his bill is to enshrine in law the right to self-determination or to choose their gender.

Pheu Thai MP Thirachai Saenkaew, meanwhile, said that the bill must in line with the context of Thai society and that the law must not be too extreme, which may result in more problems.

Citing the cases of Sweden and Finland, he said it is not easy for individuals to choose gender or the honorifics before their names, as such choices require detailed consultation withpsychiatrists.

Another Pheu Thai MP, Anusorn Iamsa-ard, claimed that, whatever the honorific, individuals can be proud of their choice of gender, be it male, female, transgender, gay or lesbian.

In Thailand, transgender individuals cannot change their honorifics, so transgender women must use the prefix ‘Nai’ (Mister) in legal documents and cannot switch to ‘Nang-sao’ (Miss).