Thai activists have announced plans to form a Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Rights (SOGIE) Party, or SRP, aimed at ensuring the equal treatment of people regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Despite its gay friendly reputation Thailand still has no anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI people and there is no formal recognition of their relationships – though close to 40% of Thai people do not oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.
80 of the seats in the 480 seat Thai House of Representatives are elected proportionally through a system of parallel voting where each voter votes once for their local representative and then again for a party to take one of those 80 seats so if LGBTI Thais were to vote as a block it is likely they would take several seats.
However the party’s founders say they will not be able to register the SRP with authorities in time for the next election in early 2014 and Thai voters may not go to the polls again until 2018.
‘We cannot do it in time for February 2,’ party co-founder Chumaporn Taengkliang told a meeting of the Thai LGBTI community on Saturday, according to the Bangkok Post.
The SRP hope to be able to bridge the country’s divide between its opposition Democrat Party and the Pheu Thai party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra – the sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra - symbolized by its rival Yellow Shirt and Red Shirt movements.