Coming out with Pride: Stories from LGBTQI+ Community and Harm Reduction

By May 12, 2023 Advocacy, Newsroom, Regional

Midnight, APCOM’s Executive Director presented a project that was supported by IDPC on Health, Equality, and Intersectionality: LGBTQI people who use drugs in Thailand

During this unprecedented period, community organizations are right at the coalface of issues of inequity and inequality that Covid-19 has amplified. In December 2020, APCOM, IDPC, Health Opportunity Network (HON), Ozone Foundation, and the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) in partnership with Rangsit University Department of Criminology organized a dialogue on issues faced by LGBTQI people who use drugs in Thailand – LGBTQI people who use drugs during COVID-19 in Thailand: Health, equality, and intersectionality

This is in line with a scoping review undertaken by APCOM to better understand the socio-sexual context of sexualized drug use among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW). It was found that privacy, anonymity, and secrecy were main concerns due to an environment where there are punitive drug laws, death penalties, incarceration and enforced treatment, as well as peer and family exclusion. Not only does this mean there are data gaps but it leads to public health implications, including transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, HPV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, and shigellosis, and psychosocial health. Issues of mental health were identified in APCOM’s report Surveying LGBTQI+ situation in Thailand during Covid-19 Pandemic.

On 27-28 April, APCOM and IDPC organised a follow-up discussion on Drug Use in LGBTQI+ Communities: Access to Health Services and Human Rights Protection Mechanism. The following were the recommendations:

Health services and solutions

  1. Promoting drug services under the NHSO’s health coverage.
  2. Health service units in Thailand (all hospitals) provide drug services, Chemsex services, covering the physical, mental, social.
  3. Promoting the community to be a drug service unit/service center by government accreditation and budget support from the government.

Law Enforcement and Rights Protection

  1. Drug users have knowledge of the law to access complaints and assistance processes.
  2. Law Enforcement Compliance Standards of Case Deviation (According to the concept and practice).
  3. The system to receive complaints and provide assistance due to rights violations.

The session was Moderated by Nicky Bath (Chief Executive Officer, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia)

Other speakers were:

  • Ahmed Said:
    Who can see us! Overlapping Risks of Men who have Sex with Men [MSM] and sex work among PWUD in Kwale County, Kenya
  • Adam Bourne:
    Self-perceived problematic drug use and harm reduction service engagement among LGBTQA+ young people in Australia
  • Koharu Loulou Chayama:
    Young sexual and gender minority men’s perspectives on drug checking services in Metro Vancouver, Canada: a qualitative study 
  • Awombda Codd:
    Sex positive, pleasure, and play

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