The Nation





Same-sex marriage will continue to be a prominent topic for members of the LGBT community in Thailand until something gets done about it. A seminar on the issue at Thammasat University last Tuesday seemed to indicate significant progress because it was organised by law students - and it drew some newspaper coverage.

I was unable to attend but gleaned from the news articles and documents distributed there that a consensus is building for LGBT people to be granted the right to have families of their own.

It's heartening that same-sex marriage is being academically discussed outside our community, and that Thammasat law students pulled the seminar together. When I was a student there, LGBT people were easy to meet but rarely acknowledged in the classroom. Certainly their voice was never sought in any academic discussion, in any field, and particularly not in the social sciences.

More students today pay attention to LGBT relationships and what their LGBT classmates are studying, and this is a promising sign for the future. Many people from various segments of society are trying to engage us, and especially younger people.

The feedback in some newspapers was also positive. LGBT people are normally mentioned in the mass media in one of three contexts - psycho crime, amusing weirdness or constant demands for rights. The seminar fell into the third category, but this time the tone of the stories was neutral.

The fact that this was an academic seminar could have been a factor in the reporting, but the seriousness of the coverage was heart-warming regardless.

If LGBT people can continue to steer society in this way, I believe same-sex marriage will be legal soon.

What our community needs is to keep the discussion going, as loudly as possible, through attention-grabbing campaigns that make more people understand the issue.

We need to urge society to redefine the word "family", to see the alternatives and the fresh opportunities inherent in the word.

Marriage won't be simply "one man and one woman" any longer. Two men can form a family, or two women. Either man or either woman can be the husband or wife - or both if they prefer. That's what equality is all about.

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