Jan. 25, 2022

Is Thailand Really LGBTQ Friendly? It’s Complicated [S5.E45]

Is Thailand Really LGBTQ Friendly? It’s Complicated [S5.E45]

Greg interviews Benjamin Lord, an American who moved to Asia straight out of college at NYU. He is on the show to discuss life as a gay man in Thailand. After spending several years in Vietnam, where the pressure to hide his status was suffocating, he...


Greg interviews Benjamin Lord, an American who moved to Asia straight out of college at NYU. He is on the show to discuss life as a gay man in Thailand. After spending several years in Vietnam, where the pressure to hide his status was suffocating, he eventually relocated to Bangkok. At first, the prevalence of gay bars, trans people, and apparent acceptance of a gay lifestyle led Benjamin to believe that Thailand was a kind of gay paradise, a moniker often placed on the Land of Smiles.

However, over the years he has developed a much subtler view of the acceptance of homosexuality in Thai society. Although Benjamin doesn’t fear for his physical safety in the same way he did in his birthplace of Arkansas, he is now aware that many Thai families stick to ‘traditional values’ and reject and may even disown their own children who are gay or trans. 

Further, the lack of true legal equality for LGBTQ people in Thailand has become more apparent in many ways, the most obvious of which was the recent Constitutional Court decision that stated that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Greg and Benjamin discuss the reaction of the LGBTQ community to the ruling and how a lack of ‘positive rights’ demonstrates that Thailand really is a very conservative society in many ways, regardless of the ‘niceness’ on the surface.

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