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Thailand’s police force is trying to be more trans-friendly

Thailand’s police force is trying to be more trans-friendly

Thai Police attend a training session on trans-sensitive policing (Photo: UNDP)

Thai police are trying to improve the way they treat transgender citizens.

The Ministry of Justice launched a handbook and training on sexual orientation and gender identity this week.

While Thailand is a popular destination for LGBTI travelers, transgender Thais face routine discrimination.

They have problems in accessing employment, education, health care, and housing.

Police often mistreat, harass, or abuse trans people, studies have shown.

Trans people are often misgendered and then ridiculed or abused by authorities.

Transgender women are vulnerable to sexual and physical violence when detained with male prisoners.

‘Many of our sisters and brothers face stigma and discrimination’, said Thitiyanun Nakphor, Director of Sisters Foundation, who attended the training.

‘That has resulted in the mistrust that the transgender community have towards the police’ Thitiyanun Nakphor said according to a statement.

Pink in Blue

‘Transgender people’s difficult experiences with police could stem from a lack of police understanding regarding the different gender identities,’ said, Kerdchoke Kasemwongjit, from the ministry.

This week’s training sensitized Royal Thai Police offices to gender diversity and sexual orientation.

Thailand’s Gender Equality Act protects trans rights. But, it is not currently possible for trans Thais change official ID to reflect their gender.

The UN Development Programme in Thailand helped organize the workshop.

The Pink in Blue Police Network, an LGBTI police task force from the Netherlands, also attended. They shared their experiences with trans-sensitive police policies.

‘We hope that this training will help law enforcement avoid personal biases and assumptions, and to improve their interactions and communications with transgender individuals’, said Thitiyanun Nakphor.

‘This training is certainly a step to increase law enforcement awareness and appreciation of gender diversity’ said Kerdchoke Kasemwongjit from the ministry.

‘But the still very high levels of reported discrimination and harassment show that there is still much work to be done in this area’.

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