Thai PM’s favorite attends Pride Parade, pledging same-sex marriage and gender identity rights

By Jiraporn Kuhakan

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The frontrunner to be Thailand’s next prime minister joined a pride parade in Bangkok on Sunday, promising to pass a law that would allow same-sex marriage and gender identity rights if he becomes prime minister.

Thousands of LGBTQ+ people, their allies and political leaders marched through central Bangkok, marking Pride Month and promoting gender equality in the country’s second official Pride Parade.

The marchers waved rainbow flags, one holding a sign reading ‘freedom to choose gender’ and another reading ‘love is love’, in the colors of the rainbow -in sky. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said more than 50,000 people joined the Pride Parade this year, more than double the attendance for last year’s event.

Among the political figures who joined the parade was Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the progressive Move Forward party, who is pushing to lead a coalition after winning the most seats in the May 14 general election, when voters made clear their hope to end nearly 10 years of rule by military and military-backed governments.

“Once the government is formed, we will support marriage equality (law), gender identity (law) and several others, including welfare,” Limjaroenrat told reporters at the parade.

“These few things will make celebrating the diversity of Pride Month a pride forever,” he said.

The coalition, which consisted of eight political parties, jointly pledged to pass laws, including the Marriage Equality Act, to ensure equal rights for all couples, regardless of gender , after the passage of the bill and related laws were blocked in parliament. under the previous government.

Thailand has one of the most open and visible lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Asia, but many political activists say traditional Thai laws and institutions have yet to reflect changing social attitudes and continue to discriminate against LGBT people and same-sex couples.

(Additional reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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