ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Publication Date : 26-10-2012
I remember Barack Obama discussing LGBT issues during the 2008 presidential campaign, but the drive for same-sex marriage is still contentious in the US.
Meanwhile many Thai gays and lesbians have married in recent years, even though they know the government won't recognise their relationships. It's nevertheless a way to lay claim to our rights in a country where we cannot trust the politicians.
Television news covered the gay wedding in Trang early this year that was full of smiling parents and friends. A female couple was married recently in Phitsanulok, one of them commenting that being a same-sex couple isn't an obstacle, and she simply didn't care if some people objected - the point was to be personally happy.
A photo contest for gay couples is in its second year. Last year it made headlines in Thai Rath because pictures of men kissing were posted online. This year they're still kissing, without concern.
There will be two gay weddings during the upcoming month of love, February - one for men and the other women. The more same-sex couples we see getting married, the more the general public will learn about gay romance, and hopefully accept the reality of it.
In practice, few Thai LGBT couple let the law interfere with their love lives. Some of us just don't care if there is official endorsement, but we all understand that we must have guaranteed rights to protect our interests as Thai citizens. Luckily we have many activists campaigning on this issue.
There's a stereotypical view that LGBT people are lusty, polygamous and incapable of lasting relationships. To overcome this, we need straight society to see how "ordinary" are our typical love lives. The familiar wedding ceremonies and the photos of contented, affectionate couples demonstrate that our love lives are exactly the same as heterosexuals'.
We have our own sweet domestic scenes, we're faithful to our mates, and we adopt children and build strong families. It's no different from straight relationships. We need to speak out about this, often and loudly, to get across the fact of our normalcy.
At the same time, while it's good to see Thai gay men and lesbians dare to show their love, we have to guard against the myth of romantic love and monogamy engulfing everyone. If the LGBT community, keen to gain public approval, shuns gays who prefer being and polygamous, they'll feel cast aside.
It's fine to ask for freedom, but we don't need to put ourselves in one box.