First national legislation in Southeast Asia protecting against discrimination based on gender expression

22 September 2015

Thailand’s Gender Equality Act, that recently came into effect, signals an inclusive future for the country’s legal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. It is the first national legislation in Southeast Asia to specifically protect against discrimination on the grounds of gender expression.

The new law specifically prohibits any means of discrimination if someone is “of a different appearance from his/her own sex by birth” – a crucial tool in protecting transgender people. Everyone is assigned a sex at birth, but not everyone continues to identify with that label throughout their lives. Such an evolution of identity should have no bearing on an individual’s full enjoyment of their rights.

For details see: Human Rights Watch, Dispatches: Thailand Acts to End LGBT Discrimination, 21 September 2015

English language translation of the Gender Equality Act is available at:


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