Thailand’s new LGBTI politicians busted parliament’s gender-based dress code on their first day in office.
Parliamentarians representing the New Power Party dressed in T-shirts and colorful clothing on Wednesday (15 May), contravening the parliament’s formal, gender-specific dress code.
But, according to Reuters, secretary-general of the lower house of parliament Sorasak Pienvej said: ‘LGBT politicians can dress as they please, but the suits or dresses must be modest’.
Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, who is Thailand’s first transgender lawmaker, told the news agency ‘I wanted to make a statement: “I am here. This is who I am, and we need to address these issues.”’
Tanwarin wore a brightly-colored skirt and blazer.
Thailand is one of the most progressive countries in the region for LGBTI rights.
Elections in March were the most LGBTI-inclusive yet.
Most political parties included LGBTI policies, such as same-sex partnerships, in their manifestos.
Thailand’s ruling military junta last year drafted a Civil Partnership Bill to recognize same-sex couples
FFP in their election manifesto, meanwhile, had promised to amend the Civil Code to make marriage between persons rather than a man and a woman.
They also proposed LGBTI-inclusive changes to the curriculum.
Meanwhile, the Mahachon Party fielded the first transgender candidate for Prime Minster. They had more than 20 LGBTI candidates.
Non-binary filmmaker Tanwarin, who fought a five-year battle with Thai censors, was elected as the country’s first transgender lawmaker.
‘We must stop putting everyone in a box according to their gender,’ Tanwarin told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Tuesday.
‘How one can dress, who one can marry — these should not be dictated by law.’