Bangkok is celebrating its first pride parade in 16 years

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Bangkok (AFP) – The Thai capital experienced an explosion of glamor, gilding and glitter on Sunday as the country’s LGBTQ community celebrated its first pride parade in almost 16 years – but attendees warned that true equality was still a long way off.

Bangkok’s “Naruemit Pride 2022” – Naruemit means “creation” in Thai – was organized by a coalition of non-governmental groups with which the newly ratified city governor Chadchart Sittiput put his weight.

Allies and people of all genders, including dear artists, sex workers, feminists, and even a few furry ones – people who are interested in or dress up in animal characters with human personalities – have descended one of the megalopolis’ main passages for the first official of the parade since 2006

“I feel so happy,” said grinning dear queen Johnnie Phurikorn, who paired her red lipstick with a gorgeous crimson dress on the ruffles for her first Pride.

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittiput (R) communicates with members of the LGBTQIA + community as they participate in the Pride Parade in Bangkok on June 5, 2022.
Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittiput (R) communicates with members of the LGBTQIA + community as they participate in the Pride Parade in Bangkok on June 5, 2022. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA AFP

“I am glad and grateful to have this moment,” the 31-year-old said, but added that his country must do more to support LGBTQ individuals.

Although the nation of Southeast Asia has a very visible LGBTQ community, many still face major obstacles and discrimination in the conservative kingdom with majority Buddhists.

“I don’t want people to think we’re different,” said Maysa Petkam, Miss Tiffany Universe’s transgender beauty pageant contestant.

“We don’t want more rights than the other sex, we just want basic rights,” she said, noting that the community continues to face daily discrimination.

“I would like the same-sex marriage law to pass so that there are laws that protect and reduce gender inequality,” she added, soothing her dizzying crown as she emphasized her thesis.

The right to love

For the engaged couple Anticha Sangchai and Vorawan Ramwan, the issue of marital equality was particularly relevant.

A same-sex couple poses in wedding dresses during the Pride March in Bangkok on June 5, 2022.
A same-sex couple poses in wedding dresses during the Pride March in Bangkok on June 5, 2022. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA AFP

The couple in see-through white dresses attracted the attention of the audience – and later social media – with their wedding ceremony in the middle of the parade.

“My beloved friends are walking together and they have given us a special moment in our lives,” Anticha told AFP, calling the experience among the masses an “honor.”

The Thai parliament has yet to legalize same-sex marriage, and the Thai government rejected a proposal in March recognizing unions equally.

“Everyone has the right to raise a family, love and marriage with everyone he loves,” Antica said.

“Why can’t we do that as a human being?”

As the couple started with the end of the official parade, the party was not quite over.

People celebrate under the giant rainbow flag during the Pride March in Bangkok on June 5, 2022.
People celebrate under the giant rainbow flag during the Pride March in Bangkok on June 5, 2022. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA AFP

A large group gathered under one of the city’s subway stations – partially blocking the main road – and staged an impromptu drag show with songs by Madonna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

It seemed ready to continue into the night as the crowd, many of whom hung over fences and huddled in street corners, screamed every performance as they chanted the lyrics of Perry’s song “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It”.

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