July 27, 2012 00:00 By Ziri Sutprasert Special for T
Whoever wins, we'll just lose
Some of my gay friends and I got involved in Thailand’s colour-coded political protests, but it’s gone on so long that all but one of us got bored and declined to join the latest rallies. The lone holdout expressed his disappointment that Thai gay men are generally uninterested in politics.
Personally, I stopped going – and even expressing an opinion about the protests – because I decided that neither of the main colour groups was going to support LGBT people or any other minority group.
On the contrary, they use homosexuality to try and defame their rivals. Many yellow and red shirts have been tarred with the “slander” that they’re gay. What personal sexual inclinations have to do with reforming Thai politics isn’t clear, but in the meantime the epithets show that both sides’ demand for democracy is nothing but a game. Their version of democracy evidently has no place for gay people.
Certain political parties in the West, such as America’s Republicans and Britain’s Conservatives, routinely attack homosexuality because most of their target voters are bigots. If anything, lip service is paid to homosexuality being an individual right, and several conservative politicians have acknowledged they’re gay, but LGBT people remain unequal in terms of both legal rights and the prevailing social attitude.
Opposition to same-sex marriage is the best evidence of these right-wing parties’ straight-oriented version of democracy. The gay voice within the parties is overwhelmed – ignored unless that man is ready to declare that he was in the wrong.
This is similar to the political situation in Thailand. The colour shirts just want to mass people who share the same viewpoint. They’re willing to overlook who the new recruits actually are and where they’re from.
So everything seems equal, but sexuality is still used as an instrument to discredit foes. How can they say they want democracy when they can’t see that everyone is fundamentally the same? My gay friend obviously hasn’t realised yet that he’s fighting for equality in a most unequal place.
I feel like I’m watching brothers battling over the family fortune. We LGBT people share the same house as them and yet we have no claim on any part of the fortune. I might feel noble in siding with one of the bickering brothers, but then what’s left for me if he wins?
Next time I have a chance to talk to my friend, I’ll tell him to stop wasting his time with the protests, because we’ll still be left on society’s margins no matter who wins this game.