Amid extensive scholarship on sexual and gender diversity in Thailand, research on LGBT + discrimination, exclusion, and policy responses remains limited and fragmented. We conducted a scoping review to synthesize the literature on LGBT + inclusion and human rights in Thailand, with a focus on diverse policy options.
Using the Joanna Briggs Institute’s scoping review methodology, and PRISMA-ScR reporting guidelines, we searched 16 bibliographic databases and gray literature. Results were categorized using an adapted WHO-UNDP LGBTI Inclusion Index and reviewed using a rights-based approach to policy analysis and development.
We identified 2,341 sources, scoped to 115 published from 2000 to 2020. LGBT + exclusion and discrimination were identified in multiple domains, e.g., bullying in schools, disproportionate rates of sexual violence, labor market exclusion, and health disparities. Policy proposals ranged from implementing more stringent LGBT + antidiscrimination legislation to increasing the scope and quality of LGBT + health services. Specific proposals included legalizing same-sex marriage, allowing individuals to change gender markers on identity documents, explicit inclusion of LGBT + people in laws against sexual assault/rape, and increasing data collection on LGBT + populations.
Numerous policy proposals address LGBT + inclusion in Thailand, though largely circumscribed to healthcare and education domains, with less attention to the family or personal security/violence.
We illustrate the utility of a rights-based approach to policy analysis/development and use specific policy examples (e.g., same-sex marriage, government-issued identity cards, disaggregated data collection) to highlight its potential to pre-empt implementation of problematic and regressive policies, and to ensure policymakers comply with their international legal obligations.
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These articles state that the rights are to be enjoyed without discrimination on the basis of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” In addition, Article 26 of the ICCPR contains a parallel provision prohibiting “discrimination to the equal protection of the law.” While LGBT + status is not expressly included in the ICCPR’s and ICESCR’s antidiscrimination provisions, the U.N. treaty bodies that monitor implementation of these treaties have stated that the treaties’ antidiscrimination provisions apply to sexual orientation and gender identity (Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 20, 2009 at para. 32; Human Rights Committee, Toonen v. Australia, Communication No. 488/1992, 1994 at para. 8.7; Human Rights Committee, Young v. Australia, Communication No. 941/2000, 2003 at para 10.4; Human Rights Committee, G v. Australia, Communication No. 2172/2012, 2017 at para 7.12).
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We would like to thank Judith Logan, University of Toronto Research Librarian, for the assistance in designing the literature search strategy. We also appreciate the contributions of experts who reviewed our sources and provided additional publications. We also thank Dares Wotansirigul for uploading all full texts to Covidence.
This review was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Partnership Grant, 895–2019-1020 [MFARR-Asia], PI: PAN).
The authors declare no competing interests.
The funder had no input in the study design, analysis, interpretation of data, production of this manuscript, nor decision to publish.
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Reid, L., Newman, P.A., Lau, H. et al. A Scoping Review of LGBT + Inclusion in Thailand: Policy Proposals and Recommendations. Sex Res Soc Policy 19, 1731–1746 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-022-00751-6