‘Ladyboy’ protests amid Thailand’s political chaos
The ever increasing turbulence of the anti-government protests notwithstanding, a demonstration of a different nature was taking place yesterday in Bangkok.
Unaffiliated to any political party, a group of transgender ‘ladyboys’ paraded past central Police Headquarters in Bangkok to protest at the lack of AIDS awareness in Thailand.
Glamorously dressed in brightly coloured ball gowns and feathered head-dresses, the group struck a contrasting pose to the increasingly militant demonstrations undertaken by the yellow-shirted PAD supporters across the capital.
The PAD has most recently shut down a second airport in Bangkok, following a string of stunts that have taken place over the last four months in an attempt to cause national chaos and topple the government.
With calls for new elections and a plethora of political factions vying for power, the current landscape looks hopelessly divided between the army and various political groups.
Since gaining independence in 1947, Thailand has experienced an endless upheaval in government.
Until 1992 there was intermittent military rule, a period characterised by coups, coup attempts and popular protests.
But despite its instability, the Buddhist country has always been seen as liberal when it comes to LGBT issues.
Though not officially supporting same-sex unions, the LGBT community there is considered one of the most free and open in the world.
As well as holding transgender beauty pageants, trans actors play key roles in Thai movies and soap operas.
Transgender figures are also seen in department cosmetics counters, popular restaurants, cabaret shows and in the famous red-light district.
While observers hope the increasingly fraught situation in the country will end peaceably, the ladyboys, with their stylish parade of singing and dancing showed the world how peaceful yet fabulous protest is all about.