A Thai university is making classes on trans issues mandatory for all incoming freshmen.
Starting this term, all new students at Bangkok’s Thammasat University, the country’s second-oldest institute of higher education and the national university, will have to read a Social Life Skills class.
The course is supposed to prepare students for leading a successful life and, according to the Asian Correspondent, will cover subjects including music, art and sports, but also a three-hour session on sex and sexuality.
Part of this mandatory session will focus on gender identity, with Kritipat Chotidhanitsakul, better known as Jimmy – one of Thailand’s best-known trans men – as the guest speaker.
‘I am very happy to be teaching so many students,’ he told Asian Correspondent.
‘I hope they will mature into adults who understand transgender issues and set a new trend for society.’
Speaking in front of up to 300 students at a time, Jimmy will have lectured 8,000 freshers by the end of this academic year.
Associate Professor Atiwut Kamudhama, the lecturer interviewing Jimmy about his life and experiences as a trans man, said he hoped the class will create a ‘more welcoming’ environment – and initial feedback looks promising.
‘I didn’t understand transgender people before. I thought they were weird,’ said Vichaya Chaovanasrimanont, a landscape architecture fresher who listened to Jimmy’s first lecture.
‘Now I understand they are not different. We are all the same.’