Greg interviews Midnight Poonkasetwattana and Inad Rendon, the Executive Director and Program Director at APCOM, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of gay men who are facing discrimination. We begin by raising the issue of the image of Thailand as a very gay-friendly place. Does the reality match the reputation? According to Midnight, in some ways, because Thai culture is less confrontational and LGBTQI people in Thailand are unlikely to face violence. However, Midnight notes that the West often provides legal protections lacking in Thailand, such as same-sex marriage or partnership rights.
Inad tells his story of living in the Philippines as a gay and HIV-positive man, and the differences between his past life and what it’s like living in Thailand. In general, the Philippines was more conservative and traditional, given the influence of Catholicism and Islam. But Inad concurs that it’s a mistake to think of Thailand as a gay paradise. Check out TestBKK for more info on what’s being done in this regard.
The men continue with details on the myriad obstacles and difficulties that LGBTQI individuals encounter in Thailand, and the role that NGOs play in countries that don’t have an extensive social safety net. Greg and the guests focus on the treatment of HIV-positive men in Thailand, how education can help remove ignorance around the situation, and how the situation is improving.
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