In Thailand, the Gender Equality Act passed. With this, the country is taking a large step in the direction of equal treatment on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression. Thailand is the first country in South-East Asia to introduce such a law.
This new Gender Act prohibits explicit discrimination if someone's ‘appearance deviates from his or her birth gender’. This extremely importance to transgenders from Thailand, as a 2014 UN study from the International Labour Organisation shows that they do not have free access to the labour market. “The exclusion (of transgenders) starts at job interviews or in the event an employer finds out that the gender on the birth certificate deviates from the gender expression of the employee.”
Thai LGBT activists see this new law as progress, but point out a shortcoming. The law contains exceptions for educational institutions and organisations with a religious denomination. The activists call on the government to consult LGBT interest groups on the implementation of such exceptions.
In response to the Gender Equality Act, Human Rights Watch points out that Thailand is the first South-East Asian country to implement such legislation, and that it can play a leading role in stimulating progress when it comes to the equal rights of LGBTs in the region.