Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
Long Walk to Transgender Rights and Gender Equality
Special Contribution
By Shobha Shukla
Participants hold placards during a protest demanding an end to what they say is discrimination against the transgender community, in Bengaluru, India, on Oct. 21, 2016.

Although governments have committed to achieve gender equality by 2030, yet the progress is way off the mark. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had recently said that it will take another 300 years to achieve full gender equality. More worrying is the fact that transgender and other gender diverse people, often slip on the blind spot when many governments refer to gender equality and see it with sex and gender binary lens (man and woman, or male and female).

"Though we see progress on transgender rights in many parts of the world but there has been alarming backlash and resistance too. For example, we have seen laws that criminalise LGBTQIAP+ communities, or target transgender people,” said Nachale Boonyapisomparn (also known as Hua) while speaking at the Gender Equality Talks #90for90 Global Voices series. Hua is a trans woman activist who was deeply involved with founding of both transgender-led registered organisations in Thailand — Sisters Foundation and Foundation of Transgender Alliance for Human Rights (often referred to as Thai TGA). She was also the first coordinator of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN).

Legal Right to Gender Recognition

Thailand is known for being a relatively safe space for gender diverse peoples. Nachale explains that this is not the full story: “Thailand does not have laws to protect transgender rights at all. We do not have legal gender recognition in Thailand. We have been advocating for same-sex marriage for a long time but it has not been a success yet. However, I must say that Thailand has done very well in responding to HIV among transgender women.”

Nachale points out that although HIV programmes have prioritised key populations yet these are limited to transgender women. “Transgender men have remained excluded from HIV programming not only in Thailand but also in other nations,” she said.

“We have been working with a range of partners at Thai TGA to draft a civil society version of gender recognition law (or gender identity law), which is ready to be proposed to the parliamentarians,” shared Nachale.

Gender-affirming Hormone Therapy

“Gender identity and sex assigned at birth do not match with each other for transgender men and transgender women. Most of them also have a condition called gender dysphoria, where they do not want to be trapped in the sex assigned to them at birth, rather they want to transition from their sex assigned at birth, and fulfil their gender identity by becoming another gender. The process of gender-affirming hormone therapy is not just a medical intervention, rather it is a fulfilment of not just gender identity but of the whole identity of a person,” said Dr. Jakkrapatara Boonruang (also known as Dr. Fair), research physician at Institute of HIV Research and Innovation (IHRI).

“Gender-affirming hormone therapy should be available to those who want their gender identity to be fulfilled. It is important to include it in national health schemes globally so that those who need it can access it as well,” said Dr Jakkrapatara, who was awarded the prestigious Dr. Mark Wainberg Fellowship at the 2023 International AIDS Society (IAS) HIV Science conference (IAS 2023). He was also speaking at the Gender Equality Talks.

Wellness and Healing

Nachale and Thai TGA members recognize that it is important to not only integrate wellness and healing for the community but also their own team members. “As transgender rights activist we have been fighting not only for our community but also struggle in our daily lives. As transgender people we experience trauma, discrimination, and stigma, and are at the risk of being burnt out, feel unwell, or feel like sharing with someone. That is why as an organisation, Thai TGA has created this safe space so that people can do so,” said Nachale.

Families Matter

Thailand has a collectivist culture. “So, we at Thai TGA have a network of families who accept LGBTQIAP+ children. Family plays a very important part in shaping the concept of gender as well as in empowering LGBTQIAP+ children. If we have the family as allies, we believe that the child who will grow up among accepting parents, will be stronger, despite growing up in a very gender binary society,” said Nachale. Parents of LGBTQIAP+ children also do not have any safe space to share with each other. “Sometimes they blame themselves. That is why we have provided them a safe space too.”

Nachale has also worked in USA for over 10 years and moved back to Thailand in 2020 to be with her family and community during the pandemic times. She worked as the Transgender and Gender Non-binary Health Advisor at Apicha Community Health Centre in New York City. Currently, she works as a Partnerships Manager at Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

“Serve People What They Need” Principle

“We have to serve what people need. 'Serve people what they need' is an important principle for donors. Instead, we have lot of donors who have their agenda and indicators,” said Nachale.

Most social stereotypes, norms, attitudes and practices, reinforce sex and gender binary. Nachale asserted that intersectional approach is necessary to address diverse needs of transgender communities- for example, persons with disabilities, young transgender people, or those among ethnic minorities. “If we truly want to leave no one behind, we have to understand the intersectionality when it comes to advancing rights of transgender communities,” said Nachale.

“We have to shake the social institution to think about gender equality and social inclusion of LGBTQIAP+ people,” said Nachale while sharing her experience of reaching out to Buddhist religious leaders. Her journey to engage religious leaders on transgender rights and inclusion was not smooth but eventually she made some headway. “We need to create space and entry points for people (such as religious leader) to come and talk with us. Even if we do not agree we have to be compassionate towards each other. We have to show compassion to those who are different, but more importantly we have to show compassion towards our own selves,” rightly said Nachale.

She concluded: “We, as activists, are in this struggle to advance gender equality and human rights for a long haul. We need to recognize that countless people have dedicated their lives in this struggle long before us. Many have passed away without seeing how the seeds are which they had so painstakingly planted. We honour them, but at the same time we also need to give ourselves a break when we need it. We have to take care of our own wellness and healing — of our own selves — without feeling guilty.”

Related Articles
    Are We Prepared to Combat Online Gender-based ...
    Shooting Our Own Foot: Misuse of Medicines Is ...
    When Will We Start Caring for Our Caregivers?
    Ending TB One Barangay at a Time
    Are We Putting Money Where the Mouth Is to ...
    Early and Accurate TB Diagnosis Is the Gateway ...
    Strong Local Actions Are Pivotal to Reduce ...
    The Head Must Follow What the Hand Writes
    Ending Tobacco Smoking Is Bedrock for ...
    Asia Pacific Has over 6.7 Million New TB Cases
    Will Shorter, Safer and More Effective TB ...
    Whither Women's Reproductive Health in Asia ...
    Build the World We Want: Healthy Future for All
    New TB Treatment Breakthroughs Must Reach the ...
    How Will Children Living with HIV Grow Up ...
    Writing Is on the Wall: Pictorial Health ...
    Failing on the Basics: Are We Able to Break ...
    A Bouquet of Novel Compounds: New Treatment ...
    One Size Does Not Fit All: Expanding the ...
    Tale of Two Pandemics: Follow the Science and ...
    Governments Must Adopt a Strong Political ...
    What Is the Ring?
    Disability Is Not Limited to the Body, It Is ...
    Accelerating Progress on Sexual & Reproductive ...
    Stop This Shaming of Menstruation
    Complacency Breeds Failure: Consolidate ...
    For Age Is Opportunity No Less Than Youth ...
    New Study Pegs the Number of TB Cases in India ...
    Self-stigma: Let Us Do More Than Just "Ttalk ...
    We Cannot Eliminate TB If We Leave Children ...
    MDR-TB Treatment Rgimen: Short Indeed Is ...
    A Plain Face Can Take the Sheen Out of Deadly ...
    Strike at the Root of the Problem to Kill TB
    Antibiotic Use Is Driving Antibiotic Resistance
    Big Push for Transgender and Hijra Welfare
    Where There Is a Will There Is a Way: Teeja ...
    Lung Cancer: Difficult to Diagnose, Difficult ...
    Long Road to Justice: Human Rights of Female ...
    Medical Malpractices: Is There Light at the ...
    Overcoming Roadblocks in Translating ...
    Management of Respiratory Diseases beyond ...
    Gender Justice to Be at the Heart of ...
    Connecting the Dots: Tobacco Use, Diabetes, ...
    It Is Time To Control Asthma
    Call for No More New HIV Infected Children
    Smoking Goes Electronic
    Break the Silence around Cancer
    How Can You Treat Your Illness Unless You Take ...
    Asthma Medicines Still Unaffordable for Many
    New Technique to Prevent Diabetic Lower-Limb ...
    Cycle Beads: The Bead String for Family ...
    Beware: All Forms of Tobacco Are Harmful!
    Mother's Milk Is the Best Nutrition for the ...
    Where Is The TB Quilt, Nay Mask?
    Hello, This Is Nature’s Call From Garbage ...
    Tuberculosis: Ugly Scar on Beautiful Childhood
    Towards A More Enabling Environment for ...
    What’s Cooking in Kitchen: Peace or Conflict?
    Feed Your Child Well: Prevent Pneumonia
    Costly Medicines Mean Debt or Death for People ...
    AIDS Epidemic at a Critical Juncture in ...
    Watch Your Tongue Mr. Minister!
    Free Trade Agreements: A Threat To People's ...
    In The Pursuit Of Healthy Happiness
    Empowering Rural Women
    Say Yes To Life: Say No To Tobacco
    Homophobia Is A Human Rights Issue
    Viva La Woman Power
    Rubbish Rubbish Food and Embrace Healthy ...
    Of Music and Divinity
    Wake Up Call on Childhood Obesity after Years ...
    A New Hope of Life for Our Ailing Education ...
    Reminiscences of Egypt
    Do Not Break the Nucleus
    Whispers of Sanity in the Frenzy of Madness
    Tobacco Cessation Can Piggy-back Ride on ...
    In The Spirit Of Freedom (from Tobacco)
    World Conference on Tobacco or Health to ...
    Requiem for Purity
    Rhapsody 2008 -- a Symphony of Different ...
    'Diabetes Doctor Is at Your Doorstep' in ...
    Activists Decry India's Deferment of Pictorial ...
    South-East Asian Diabetes Summit to Open Up in ...
    Special on Universal Children's Day
    The Wrath Of God
    World Food Scarcity and the Challenges of ...
    Victim of Terrorism -- the Common Man
    Teachers' Day: The Sacrificial Goat
    Hiroshima Day: Let Us Worship Peace and Shun ...
    Whither the Innocence of Childhood?
    Food for Thought -- on World Food Day
    Love Is the Missing Link in War-on-Terror
    Irom Sharmila: The Iron Lady
    India Poised And Shining
    Is It Just Another Day in Life of Indian Woman?
    He Has His Cake and Eats It Too
    To Be Young, to Be Married, and to Be in India
    The Mad Mad World of Ads

Other Articles by Shobha Shukla
    Are We Prepared to Combat Online ...
    When Will We Start Caring for Our Caregivers?
    Ending TB One Barangay at a Time
    Are We Putting Money Where the Mouth Is to ...
    Whither Women's Reproductive Health in Asia ...

Ms. Shobha Shukla has been teaching physics at India's noted Loreto Convent, and has written for The Hindustan Times and Women's Era in the past. She serves as editor of Citizen News Service (CNS). She can be contacted at






The Seoul Times, Shinheung-ro 36ga-gil 24-4, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188 Publisher & Editor: Joseph Joh
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange