A transgender woman who is running to be prime minister of Thailand has said she is ready to take the role – but wonders if the people are ready to accept a transgender candidate.

Pauline Ngarmpring transitioned at the age of 49, and has said she is “comfortable” and has “nothing to hide” ahead of the general election on March 24.



The trans Thai candidate said that—while she is ready for the race—she is accepting that she will likely not become prime minister on this occasion, according to the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

Thailand’s first transgender candidate runs for prime minister: Pauline Ngarmpring
Thailand’s first transgender candidate runs for prime minister: Pauline Ngarmpring

“I know having my candidacy is a symbolic gesture. I know I will not be prime minister now,” said Ngarmpring. “But we hope we will get some seats and represent LGBT people in the country. And perhaps next time, even a transgender woman will have a chance.”

Pauline Ngarmpring is running so future generations will have equality

She also said that she decided to run now for prime minister so that future generations “who may be transgender, gay, male or female” will be able to have equality.

She is putting herself forward as a candidate for prime minister with the Machachon Party, a political party that is running with human rights and equality at the fore.

“I know having my candidacy is a symbolic gesture. I know I will not be prime minister now.”

– Pauline Ngarmpring, transgender candidate

If they win enough seats, the party wants to decriminalise sex work and improve LGBT+ rights – and in particular, wants to give transgender people the right to change their gender on official documents.

Ngarmpring told the Thomas Reuters Foundation that politics was always her main interest throughout her career—she worked as a news reporter—but that she was not in the right frame of mind to delve in until after she transitioned.

‘Women are not taken seriously in Thailand’, says the trans candidate

Ngarmpring opened up about her experience of undergoing gender reassignment surgery in the United States, where she spent three years while she transitioned.

“I was fortunate because I had already had a long and successful career as a man before I transitioned,” she said.

She said that transgender people often lack job opportunities and struggle to gain employment, and that women also experience difficulties.

“It took me 40 years to admit to myself I was born a woman.”

– Pauline Ngarmpring, transgender candidate

“Women are not taken seriously in Thailand; there have been some women politicians, but it’s very difficult to enter politics without family connections.”

Ngarmpring also said that she often receives messages from LGBT+ people asking her for advice as they see her as “an inspiration.”

“I tell them: take your time, it’s not about what other people think, it’s about being clear to yourself. It took me 40 years to admit to myself I was born a woman.”




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