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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                   14  September 2011

Transsexuals win fight with Thai Defence

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The Administrative Court has ordered the Defence Ministry to stop describing transsexuals who have not had sex change operations as people with a "permanent mental disorder" in their conscription records.

The ruling was hailed by transsexuals and human rights advocates who consider the term to be insulting.

The order will expedite efforts to amend conscription regulations in order to standardise the reasons for relieving transsexuals from draft duty.

The Administrative Court has asked the Defence Ministry and the relevant authorities to find a proper term to describe transsexuals who have not had sex change operations.

"The court sees conscription as being an important task of the Defence Ministry," read the verdict. "It is the ministry's job to speed up the amendment to prevent human right violations and maintain the interest of military service."

The term "permanent mental disorder" is likely to be replaced with "gender identity disorder" under the amended regulation.

The petition was lodged by Samart Meecharoen who claimed the wording in the conscription papers was not only demoralising but also had deprived him of future employment opportunities.

The paper, known as the Sor Dor 43 certificate, is typically filed with job applications and if it contains the term "permanent mental disorder", transsexuals have a little chance of finding decent jobs, he said.

Jetsada Taesombat,a representative of a sexual diversity group, said yesterday he hoped the court ruling would be observed by state agencies and private sector employers.

He said that the group would set up a watch group to monitor the military to ensure the term is no longer used.

According to Mr. Jetsada, the group would also seek to coordinate with other transsexuals to ask authorities concerned for official documents to certify that they do not suffer from mental disorders.



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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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