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You're gay, you're lower than me!

Publication Date : 11-05-2012


You're gay, you're lower than me!

Last week's row in parliament between MPs Prasit Chaisrisi and Boonyod Sukthinthai gained attention from the LGBT community for its use of female pronouns and slurs on homosexual behaviour. The curiosity to know just who is homosexual in parliament was replaced by a focus on whether MPs are homophobic.

In my own opinion, I don't think it was direct homophobia. The ridiculing in parliament did show anti-gay prejudice, but if it had been homophobia it would have drawn protests and petitions. I think they were just trying to discredit each other - and that is even more dangerous than homophobia.

We discredit someone by measuring them against the norms and standards of our society. If you follow the social rules, people will honour you. But the higher your honour in society, the easier a target you become for people's destructive words.

In Thai society, though the history of sex and sexuality has never been written, at this present time we accept heterosexuality as the social standard. So a popular method to attack an important person's reputation is to spread the rumour that he's gay. The more "ambiguous" that person is, the more powerful the rumour will be.

The individual person's popularity is important, but the relationship between fame, the owner of the fame, and people is more critical.

If the social standard is the key for discrediting someone, and Thai society is dominated by heterosexuality, then other sexualities will be shamed for not following the standard. A famous individual accused of homosexuality may become less popular, but the people who believe that homosexuality is wrong are the confirmation of a heterosexual standard among Thais which forms the levels in this society. If you are straights, you are at a high level. But if you're gay, of course you are lower.

It's terrifying that people accept these levels.

In the past few years people have been talking more about democracy and equality. But the row last week and its ridiculous comments reflect the truth that for some MPs, "equality" is merely an empty word. Its meaning hasn't taken root in their hearts. No doubt Prasit and Boonyod "think" equality is important, but the truth is that they place some people lower than others according to sexuality.

An accusation of homosexuality is not the only way to discredit a powerful person, but it reflects the perspective on unequal sexual structure in Thai society. This might be one answer for why the movements for sexual rights - both women's and gay's - are progressing so slowly. If our MPs and citizens still believe that a different sexuality puts people on a different level, they will never know why we must be equal.


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