Gay rights activists in the U.S. rail on about discrimination against gays. I don’t mean legal discrimination such as not hiring or renting to gay people and gay couples but social and cultural discrimination — treating gay people as evil immoral people who should be shunned or treating homosexuality as a disease in need of a cure.
Many gays most likely dream, the way blacks used to dream, about living in a society where their sexual orientation didn’t matter and their gayness was accepted and treated just like a person’s height and eye color —- where it is genetically determined and, like eye color and height, just doesn’t matter socially or economically.
In the 1930’s, many jazz musicians found refuge and relief from U.S. racial discrimination in France. American blacks found 1930’s French society more open and accepting than U.S. society at that time. Word got out and many inter-war jazz musicians and black intellectuals sojourned happily in 1930’s France.
Thailand today is a homosexual version of 1930’s France. If gays in western society want to see and experience a society where homosexuality just doesn’t matter, where homosexuality is out in the open and accepted, and where sexual orientation is believed to be genetically determined and not a mental disease in search of a cure, Thailand is all that.
In fact, Thailand is the most gay friendly society on Earth. Actually, “gay friendly” is not the right term because it implies Thai society is tolerating something. Thailand is the most gay society on Earth not because a majority of Thais are gay but because in Thailand being homosexual just doesn’t matter. Being gay is accepted by families with gay members, workers with gay colleagues, and friends who are not gay. Bring your partner to regular family functions, regular work functions, and regular social outings and it goes unremarked and unnoticed.
I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with Thai people of all socio-economic classes where the argument has been made that a man is a “female inside” or a female is a “man inside” therefore they are a man or a women and should be treated as such. This is not just politically correct social posturing but is a heartfelt belief that is followed to its logical conclusion where gay people are routinely and automatically accepted in the sex role of their choice.
Example. A friend works at a hospital where a shared room in a woman’s dorm next to the hospital is provided as part of her compensation package. Another worker is a pre-op lady boy ( a man who dresses as a woman) and she is assigned to her as a roommate. It’s a same sex dorm and the ladyboy is treated by the hospital as a woman, assigned to the women’s dorm, and the friend accepts him as a woman roommate. Can you imagine this happening in the U.S.?
It’s not a scientific poll but the consensus among Thai’s is that sexual orientation is genetically determined and no more worthy of note than the fact a person is born with two hands and five fingers.
And its’ not just about gay men but also about lesbians.
Walk down any Thai street or ride the subway for a couple of stops and look around. You will almost always see openly lesbian couples. In Thai parlance, Tom and Dee’s, where the Tom is a women in the male role and Dee is a woman in the female role.
Watch Tom and Dee’s in restaurants and coffee shops openly showing affection and you’ll notice the only one giving them a second glance are the foreigners. The Thai service staff and customers don’t even shoot them a look.
I’ve known several Dee’s and they tell remarkable similar stories. They had a male thai boyfriend, had a rough go, and decided they would try a female boyfriend. They were courted by a Tom and experimented. Some preferred it and some didn’t. What’s remarkable about these stories is that in Thai society such experimentation and exploration goes unremarked and unnoticed just like the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening.
What’s also remarkable is that word has not leaked out to the wider western world about this aspect of Thai society—- either in academic research or in wider gay society.
If gays in The World knew about Thailand, I’d expect to see more of them vacationing, sojourning, enjoying, and participating in Thailand.
Lesbian in the U.S. looking for a fun vacation or fed up with certain aspects of American society?