Thai LGBT+ couples break taboos on Valentine’s Day

BANGKOK, 14 Feb 2023:

To celebrate love on Valentine’s Day with a symbolic wedding marathon between LGBT+ people, 100 couples gathered today in what is the first event of its kind in Thailand – where proposals to legalise marriage and homosexual unions are being processed.

Adorned with hearts and white, pink and red balloons, the terrace of the Prince Palace Hotel in Bangkok was the setting for couples to symbolically formalise their link and raise their voices for LGBT+ rights, which are still meagre in the country, despite its worldwide fame as a “gay paradise.”

“We feel like we are coming out of the closet so this event today means a lot to make LGBT people more visible and obvious to society,” said Meepooh Dew, while proudly displaying her “marriage certificate” with her partner, a transgender woman.

Meepooh said she wants to “show that we just want to have equal rights, the same as straight couples.”

Dozens of couples were scheduled to publicly express their commitment in individual ceremonies throughout the day in this large tribute, which has the support of Bangkok’s local authorities.

The event was attended by district director Pongjakarin Tavornpong, who emulated the role of officiant at the symbolic weddings.

The appointment takes on special significance as it receives the public support of the governor of Bangkok, Chadchart Sittipunt – elected in May 2022 and known for his progressive convictions – and because it is a key year for Thai politics, as the country will hold general elections in May.

It also comes at a time when parliament has taken an important step towards LGBT+ rights, when it supported several proposals in June to allow marriages and unions between people of the same sex, initiatives in motion after a decade since they were first proposed.

““Now we are discussing the same sex marriage bill and I hope for the future, not too far from now, we can do similar celebration to many people LGBT (sic.) It’s a big step,” the district director noted.

More than extolling love in its entirety, the staging of this massive wedding also aims to break taboos and warn society about the problems that affect the collective, whether for social, family or work reasons.

“We (got married) to celebrate our love story but I didn’t want it was just about us (sic,) I wanted to make a social impact to show the world that Thailand can be the LGBT paradise,” he said, accompanied by his partner Nonny Natthawirojn, also one of the organisers behind Bangkok Pride Day.

For this reason, those responsible for the wedding marathon said they have chosen to make the event as diverse, intersectional and multicultural” as possible, with a plurality of gay, lesbian, transgender, queer and other gender couples.

For Nonny, “teaching that love, our love, is real” can “make a difference” in the lives of other LGTB+ people and help reduce problems such as loneliness, depression and other illnesses.

“People keep suiciding (sic) because people dont think or don’t feel their love is real and it’s a family problem,” she said, referring to the rejection and prejudice the group faces.


Image caption: Newlywed police officer Phisit Sirihirunchai (right) shares a light moment with spouse Chanatip Sirihirunchai following a registration service for certificates recognising relationships between LGBTQ people, organised by Pom Prap Sattru Phai district to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Bangkok, Thailand, 14 Feb 2023. EFE-EPA