2023年12月27日水曜日

WHAT DOES LGBT MEAN AND KNOW THE BASICS BEFORE KNOW MOST POPULAR COUNTRY THAILAND FOR LGBT

@Jackie San


Have you ever wondered what LGBT and being an “ally” mean? Knowing some key terms and concepts, like the difference between “sex,” “gender,” and “sexual orientation,” are ways to be an ally.

The term "LGBT technically stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. It includes both sexual orientation (LGB) and gender identity (T). But, it’s sometimes used as an umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as straight (heterosexual) or cisgender, so it’s important to know other sexual and gender identities the term covers. Below, we break down a few basic terms and concepts. These are just some of the many terms that are used to define sexual orientation, as well as gender identity and expression. A word of caution: Be careful not to impose any of these terms onto others. Let others identify themselves in ways that make them feel safe and authentic to their true selves.

KNOW KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS 

  • Sex — Genetic and physical body characteristics people are born with, labeled male or female.
  • Gender — A social and cultural expression of sex; not the biological sex people are born with.
  • Intersex — People who are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit typical definitions of “male” or “female.”
  • Sexual Orientation — Romantic, emotional, and/or sexual attraction to others.
  • Gender Identity — An internal feeling of being male, female, or something else.
  • Gender Expression — Ways of showing gender to others, such as through mannerisms, clothes, and personal interests.
  • Questioning — Individuals who are unsure about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Ally — An individual or organization that openly supports and affirms the rights and dignity of LGBT people.

Sexual orientation:
  • Lesbian/Gay — Individuals who are romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to the same sex/gender.
  • Bisexual — Individuals who are romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to multiple sexes/genders.

Gender identity and expression: 
  • Cisgender — Individuals whose gender identity/expressions is similar to that typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.
  • Transgender — Individuals whose gender identity/expression is different from that typically associated with their assigned sex at birth.
  • Transitioning — When individuals begin to express their authentic gender, which differs from that typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Individuals who are transitioning may express their gender identity through changes in clothes, hairstyle, and makeup/accessories and may undergo medical or surgical treatments.
  • Two-Spirit — Created specifically by and for some Native American communities. Native American people who (a) express their gender and/or sexual orientation in indigenous, non-Western ways, and/or (b) define themselves as LGBTQI in a native context.

WHY IS LGBT ON THE RISE GLOBALLY?

A global divide on admission of LGBTQ communities remains but is narrowing, a new study shows.

he global push for gay rights around the world has been a long, slow struggle – in some Middle Eastern and African countries, for example, same-sex acts today can bring the death penalty. But public acceptance is increasing, even in culturally conservative countries, according to a global study released on Thursday.

People in the United States, India, South Korea and Mexico have registered the largest gains in public acceptance with gay rights since 2002, according to findings released from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Pew conducted its polling in 34 countries, including the U.S. The study finds public opinion around the world on the acceptance of gay rights is still divided by country, region and economic development, despite substantial change in laws and norms surrounding issues such as same-sex marriage and the rights of LGBTQ communities around the world.

Pew released its survey in June, celebrated as Pride Month in many countries. Pew first began international polling on the acceptance of gay rights in 2002, and 2013 is the last year the organization conducted its study. As in 2013, the data released today reflect public acceptance of gay rights is shaped by the country where people live. People in Western Europe and the Americas are generally more accepting than people in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, while people in Asia-Pacific countries are split on the topic.

Those differences are shaped by the economic development of countries, as well as individuals' age, education levels and religious and political views, says Jacob Poushter, the study's lead author and Pew's associate director of global attitudes research.

"Generally, more educated, younger and less religious respondents voiced greater acceptance of homosexuality than those who are less educated, older or more religious," Poushter said in an email.

Pew's study found substantial changes in public opinion. In the United States, for example, 72% today say homosexuality should be accepted, a sharp increase from 46% in 1994 and 51% in 2002, Poushter says.


Among other countries showing major increases in public acceptance of homosexuality since 2002:

  • South Africa, which shows a 21-point increase in public acceptance;
  • South Korea, where a 19-point increase is shown;
  • In both Japan and Mexico, just over half said they accepted homosexuality; in 2002; nearly 7 in 10 respondents in today's study now approve.
  • Even in India, where today a minority (37%) today say they accept homosexuality, that level of approval is a 22-point increase.

  • Pew conducted the survey from May 13 to Oct. 2, 2019, polling 38,426 people in 34 countries.

    The phrasing Pew used in its survey was, "And which one of these comes closer to your opinion? Homosexuality should be accepted by society OR Homosexuality should not be accepted by society." Pew began polling this question in the U.S. in 1994 and expanded globally in 2002.

    Pew researchers acknowledge the word "homosexuality" can today be considered archaic but say the word is the most applicable and translatable when asking the question across societies and languages, and has been used in other cross-national research, including the World Values Survey.

    Pew's study also found that people in wealthier and more developed economies are more accepting than countries that are less wealthy and developed. Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, nations with a per-capita gross domestic product of more than $50,000, registered among the highest levels of acceptance. By comparison, less than 2-in-10 respondents in Nigeria, Kenya and Ukraine have per-capita GDPs of less than $10,000, express acceptance.

    "Country wealth, measured by GDP per capita, is a still a driving force for attitudes towards acceptance of homosexuality in society, with people in wealthier countries expressing more acceptance than those in less developed economies," Poushter said.


    WHY LGBT IS MORE POPULAR IN THAILAND COUNTRY ?


    'Open minded' Thailand banks on LGBT tourists, 'boys love' exports


    BANGKOK -- Thailand's tourism sector is taking LGBT travelers more seriously, hoping their spending on events and medical treatments gives the country a post-COVID economic jolt.

    The Thai economy grew 2.7% in the first quarter of 2023 from a year earlier, and the central bank expects it to expand 3.6% for the whole year. Authorities say the tourism sector, which accounted for about 20% of the economy before the pandemic, will play an essential role.

    LGBT tourists spend an estimated $200 billion worldwide a year, according to research conducted by Out Now Consulting, an agency that provides gay marketing services to big companies.

    This prospective gold mine has encouraged the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to hone its LGBT marketing strategy, which includes holding roadshows targeting LGBT communities in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

    Thailand has long been a destination for LGBT tourists, but it is only recently that the tourism authority started promotions targeting LGBT groups.

    This year, the tourism authority is sponsoring Pride events in more areas, such as Phuket and Pattaya, in addition to Bangkok. Thailand is celebrating Pride Month throughout June with parades, concerts and other LGBT events, with thousands of people from around the world taking part in a Bangkok Pride parade on June 4.

    The foreign tourists did not come just for the parade. According to TAT research, many were long-haul travelers who often spend days at destinations holding events they want to attend.

    "The TAT has realized the importance of [LGBT] groups and will continue to do research to serve their demand," a TAT official said.

    Thailand has long attracted wealthy medical tourists due to its high medical standards and competitive prices. Now the country's medical sector is working to attract LGBT medical tourists from Asia and elsewhere.

    Bangkok's Bumrungrad International Hospital, one of Thailand's leading hospitals, in 2021 opened a Pride Clinic that offers integrated medical and wellness services to the LGBT community, ranging from hormone treatment to gender-affirming treatment.

    Currently, around 70% of the clinic's clients are Thais, Napas Paorohitya, Bumrungrad's chief marketing officer, told Nikkei Asia. She said foreign clients come from the U.S., Canada, Bangladesh, Australia, China, Vietnam and Singapore.

    The clinic promotes its services in Asia, particularly in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, "our strategic markets with strong spending power," Napas said.

    One LGBT respondent in a TAT research project said medical services geared toward the community help Thailand project a welcoming image.

    "Thailand is well-known for being at the forefront of surgery that allows people to change their sex," the respondent said. "That says a lot about its open-mindedness."

    The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates Thailand's cosmetic and gender-affirming treatment industry to be worth an annual 36 billion baht, a figure the society expects to grow by 15% to 20% a year.

    Meanwhile, Thailand plans to capitalize more on its LGBT-related soft power. The country has emerged as Asia's biggest creator of "boys love" dramas. Last year, exports of these gay romance series and movies exceeded 1.5 billion baht.

    Earlier this year, the Ministry of Commerce held a business-matching event in Bangkok so Thai producers of boys love content could meet and talk with importers from Japan, South Korea and China. The fair generated 158 business partnerships that are expected to lead to more than 3.6 billion baht in exports of LGBT-themed content, according to Ratchada Thanadirek, a deputy spokeswoman for the government.


    WHY COMMUNITIES IN THAILAND ACCEPT LGBT?


    "Thailand is one of the most tolerant countries in Southeast Asia, and has a thriving LGBTQ+ scene. But are there limits to what's acceptable?"

    Thailand is one of Asia’s most LGBTQ+-friendly nations. It’s close to approving same-sex civil partnerships, has a thriving transgender community, boasts hospital services tailored to LGtbQ+ patients, and big Thai companies even offer medical leave for gender reassignment surgery. But that doesn’t mean Thailand’s necessarily an LGBTQ+ travel utopia. Thailand still has a complicated relationship with those communities that’s important to understand before you visit.


    Transgender people in Thailand


    Very few countries are as welcoming to transgender people as Thailand. It has one of the world’s largest transgender communities, is the biggest destination for gender reassignment surgery on the planet and is a hugely popular tourism destination for transgender people.

    Thailand has been so open to transgender people that many transmen and transwomen from across Southeast Asia leave their home countries, where their sexuality is not accepted, and take up residence in Thailand. Thailand is particularly well known for its many transwomen, known locally as “kathoey”.

    Whereas in many countries transgender people are marginalized – pushed to the fringes of society – in  Thailand they are very much part of the mainstream. On any given day in a big Thai city, such as Bangkok, tourists will likely encounter many transgender people working in offices, hotels, restaurants, and shops. Thousands of people attend Thailand’s annual Miss International Queen, the world’s largest transgender beauty competition.

    However, transgender residents in Thailand still face more obstacles and injustices than cisgender people and are sometimes discriminated against in education, recruitment, and in the workplace. It’s also claimed that some transgender people are paid less and offered fewer benefits than their cisgender colleagues.

    For transgender tourists, however, Thailand is justifiably a prime destination. In the big cities, and popular tourist resort towns, transgender travelers are commonplace and it is very rare for transgender tourists to face harassment or abuse.


    Gay and lesbian acceptance in Thailand


    Thailand is becoming more hospitable for gay and lesbian people. The Thai Government has approved a same-sex civil partnership bill to increase the legal rights of gay and lesbian couples, and Bangkok’s top private hospital, Bumrungrad, opened a clinic specifically for LGBTQ+ patients in 2021. Well-known Thai communications giant, DTAC, announced many new benefits for LGBTQ+ employees in June 2021, including marital leave and family health packages for same-sex couples in civil partnerships.

    Homophobia still exists, of course, as it does in every country, but it is rare in Thailand, and becoming less common as young Thai people are reared in a nation that’s increasingly inclusive of gay and lesbian people.

    The widespread warmth in Thailand towards the gay and lesbian community was highlighted in April 2021 after a Thai gay couple received death threats from Indonesian internet users for posting photos of their wedding. That prompted a flood of online support and affection for this couple from Thai netizens, as well as Thai media reports defending them.

    This explains why Thailand has become a hugely popular tourist destination for gay and lesbian travelers in the last 20 years. As well as acceptance, the country has a lively LGBTQ+ social scene with every major Thai city and beach resort home to many gay and lesbian venues. Bangkok’s Silom district, which teems with gay bars and nightclubs, is widely considered the largest gay entertainment area in Asia.


    Public displays of affection


    In general, all public displays of affection are much rarer in Thailand than in most Western countries. While Thai couples of all sexual orientations will commonly hug or hold hands in public, anything more intimate than that is unusual. Thais are naturally quite private and reserved and tend to keep their strongest emotions – from affection to anger – for the privacy of their homes. Visitors are advised to follow suit and leave the canoodling for the hotel room.


    General safety for LGBTQ+ Travelers?


    LGBTQ+ travelers to Thailand should take the same precautions they would in any other country. Hate crimes or discrimination against LGBTQ+ visitors are very rare, however, as in many other countries, social viewpoints are less liberal outside of the main cities, and people in rural Thailand are less accustomed to seeing same-sex couples.

    From a safety perspective, LGBTQ+ visitors in Thailand should consider the same issues as all other travelers. Scams, drink spiking, petty theft and road accidents are the four biggest threats to all tourists in Thailand. Where possible, it is best to book day tours, watersport activities, or long taxi trips through the concierge of your hotel, to minimize the risk of being caught up in one of the many scams that target tourists in Thailand.

    Drink spiking isn’t rampant in Thailand, but it’s common enough in its busy tourist precincts that you should try to always keep your drink in your hand. Also, keep a close eye on your possessions as petty thieves in Thailand often focus on foreigners.

    When it comes to road safety, Thailand has the world’s second-highest rate of road fatalities, and the worst rate of motorcycle fatalities – unless you’re an experienced rider, don’t hire a motorbike. Finally, if you are confronted by a Thai police officer, be polite and show them a photocopy of your passport, which you should always carry with you.


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