As the hype of LGBTQI movement in Thailand is becoming more popular and visible, especially as Thailand puts Marriage Equality Bill to be discussed in the Parliament in December, the coalition of LGBTQI groups, a network of individuals and community-based organizations working to improve the human rights of LGBTQI community for decades, organized the 2nd Thailand PRIDE Festival 2023 during 24-26 November 2023 in Bangkok.
Under the concept “My PRIDE Everyday”, the festival wants to raise awareness that diversity and inclusion are beautiful, and that we strive for equality and rights every single day, not only in the international Pride month in June.
“As I mentioned in the Pride Month, I would like to support My PRIDE Everyday. So I welcome everyone here. It is your time already. We embrace diversity and respect each other. Actually, I am not a guest today but I am the host of the venue behind the stage…”Chadchart Sittipunt, Bangkok governor, said and continued
“I am pleased to be here and thank you for the honor. Bangkok is ready to move forward together with everyone. Let’s come together to make Bangkok a livable city for everyone.”
Furthermore, the festival expands diversity and inclusion beyond LGBTQI groups, including other vulnerable and marginalized populations so that they are not left behind in the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Leaving no one behind means social inclusion, which leads to ensuring their visibility and full participation. To achieve this, various stakeholders and sectors working on intersectionality issues covering LGBTQI rights, LGBTQI migrant, sex work, right to abortion, importance of harm reduction for drug users, reproductive health and HIV will join a hand and make this Thailand PRIDE Festival possible as “My PRIDE Eveyday”.
Mixed with meaningful activities over 3 days, Thailand PRIDE Festival 2023 brought about 700-1000 people convening multi-national LGBTQI communities, the government, political parties, non-profit organizations, embassies, private sectors, celebrities, academics and students, etc. Here are a few highlights of each day’s activities.
24 November 2023:
HERO Awards 2023 and After Party
Standing for HIV, Equality and Rights, the HERO Awards is an annual event which acknowledges outstanding service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) communities, and the HIV response in Asia and the Pacific region. Under the theme “Forward Together”, 17 individuals and organisations were honoured, with 11 receiving a HERO Award. Hosted by the German Embassy in Bangkok, and witnessed by Ambassadors from Germany, Canada and Luxembourg, and representatives from diplomatic missions from Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US, and community representatives from 35 organizations in 15 countries across the region who attended the APCOM Community Summit 2023.
HE. Dr Ernst Reichel, the German Ambassador to Thailand, opened the event
“Moving forward together in Diversity, the APCOM HERO Awards Thailand, hosted by the German Embassy Bangkok, honors the champions of equality within the LGBTQI communities.”
HERO Awards After Party 2023 took place at the same venue. This fundraising party lit the fire of the party lovers with Circuit DJ and stunning shows by 9 Models and 5 Drag Queens, which everyone confirmed that it was really enjoyable. Drinking, mingling, and watching the shows are the main activities. Another gimmick of the party was that participants could take a picture with the HERO throne and backdrop of the HERO Awards After Party for sharing on social media too.
For further information about HERO Awards, please visit https://www.apcom.org/hero-awards/
25 November 2023:
“My PRIDE Everyday Movie”
The highlight on this day was two short movie screenings from the thesis of fresh graduates of Film Studies, Faculty of Communications Arts of Chulalongkorn University. The main connection between the two movies is about Diversity and Inclusion, which reflect cross-cutting problems in Thai society.
The first movie is “In the Name of Love”, which narrates a life story of two girls living together, yet they cannot register a marriage certificate according to Thai law. One day, a girl mysteriously disappears, which leads to many consequences because another has no rights because of marriage registration.
The next movie screening entitled “He’s my star”, which tells a story of a straight guy who decides to cast for the leading role in the Boylove series because he believes that this will make him famous. However, he has his past secret with the author of this series, so taking the lead character here may change his star career for good.
After the movie screenings, there was an interactive talk with directors of each movie with the audience. This allowed everyone to understand the background of the characters, inspiration of the plots, and also the key messages that really moved emotions, feelings, and thoughts during the showtime. The topics in the movies we had discussed, are for example, the political issues which affect on LGBTQI Rights in Thailand, enforced disappearances, stigmatization and bullying against LGBTQI, boylove series sarcasm and stereotype, etc.
“My PRIDE Everyday Movie activity is a collaboration with APCOM and Film Studies, Faculty of Communications Arts of Chulalongkorn University. The two movies discuss intersectional issues that LGBTQI+ people face through the lens of the new generation. The two movies are the thesis of fresh graduates, and they reflect cross-cutting problems of the things we deserve, but we do not have, such as marriage equality. They also talk about bullying in schools and the reproduction of LGBTQI+ people on current media.”Patthakarn Sadubtham, Shotbyly and Co-host of the “My PRIDE Everyday Movie”
26 November 2023:
“My PRIDE Everyday Run”
Last but not least, the highlight of the Thailand PRIDE Festival 2023 – the coalition of LGBTQI groups set up the open space of Lan Khon Mueng of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), to be racetrack for the charity 3-kilometer fun run or “My PRIDE Everyday Run” – a mini run which anyone can join and wear whatever they like to show their PRIDE. People came in fancy and colorful dresses, sportswear, shorts, jeans, and pants whatever they preferred to be themselves in order to walk or run to reach the finish line, and get the limited edition of Thailand PRIDE Festival 2023 sashes, while the 3 fastest winners got the crowns. With fun and run, this activity is one of the little steps to engage the public to raise awareness for LGBTQI community in Thailand.
“Thank you all for creating today’s event. The coalition of Thai LGBTQI groups and Thailand PRIDE Festival 2023 working group would like to thank everyone who participated in supporting and advancing LGBTQI+ Rights these days. Furthermore, the most important thing is that we are organizing another greater Thailand Pride event in June next year. Please look forward to joining us. The location will be, however, informed later. I would like to invite the runners, our networking partners, and supporters to come and participate in the Thailand 2024 event again.”Nikorn Chimkong, Director of the Bangkok Rainbow Organisation
Furthermore, there were 12 booths from partner organizations and supporters, who came to brighten up the event with various giveaways, games, and food. Another great part is the main stage, where the shows were not only for amusements, but represented “My PRIDE Everyday” of the communities. For the fun part, we had Choi Song by the club from University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Live Music by Daddy and Bear, B-Boy Dance by B Boy New Born, and Warm-up Aerobic Dance by Kru Toei Warm Up Thailand. On the other hand, we also screened two documentary films: “Transmen Life Journey” by Backpack Journalist and “Not Always Rainbows” by APPRN and Equal Asia, Mini Talk Shows about Abortion by Tam Tang, Drug use by Ton Sirisak , and Pageants by Panan. Most surprising guests of the event was Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who came to give an inspiring speech regarding LGBTQI+ community and crowned the winner of the fun run.
“APCOM Foundation is pleased to be a part of Thailand PRIDE working group. We put our efforts to work together for this such event. We also want to make this event to be even bigger year by year. We really want Thailand to be a center for LGBTQI equality for the region, because we have great potential. This event is neither just for the civil society sector alone, nor the business sector. But it is for drawing our government to see that they can be a leader in this part. And they should actually be our leader too. I would like to thank everyone who took part in working with us tonight. And sincerely hope that in 2024 we will work and co-organize together for the Thailand Pride event again.”Midnight, Executive Director, APCOM
Thank you very much to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Culture, Sports, and Tourism Department for supporting the safe space to raise awareness that diversity and inclusion are beautiful, and that we strive for equality and rights every single day, not only in the international Pride month in June.
Although we were just a small group with little steps, we believe that this will make a movement of LGBTQI to the society. We also thank you for all the attention and attendance. We promise to bring more exciting activities for all.