Thailand Elects First Transgender MP
Paper Magazine, Thailand, 3/25/2019
In the first election since Thailand's 2014 military coup, the country has elected its very first transgender MP. According to Pink News, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit – who was running as a candidate for the rapidly-growing Future Forward Party – was elected to office on March 24, 2019. Identifying as bisexual and transgender, Tanwarin ran on a platform that included legalising same-sex marriage in Thailand. She had also promised to represent and uphold the rights of LGBTQ minorities in Thailand and fight for their right to also adopt children. This year’s elections have been historic for trans visibility in Thai politics, with another transgender candidate, Pauline Ngarmpring, also running for prime minister. However, unlike Tanwarin, Ngarmpring’s could not win a majority.
6 LGBT Scenes Cut from 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in China
Business Insider - Beijing, China, 3/24/2019
Six scenes of LGBTQ content were cut from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the biopic of British rock band Queen, for the Chinese audience, including the word ‘gay’, the media reported on March 25, 2019. The award-winning film, which opened in China on March 22, 2019, prominently features a LGBTQ character who is later diagnosed with AIDS – hence proving ‘controversial’. In 2016, Chinese censors banned the portrayal of ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’, including gay and lesbian relationships in TV and online shows, which is what led to these cuts from the movie. Homosexuality is not illegal in China and the authorities in 2001 removed it from the official list of ‘mental disorders’, but activists and experts agree that prejudices and discrimination – as well as periodic government crackdowns – persist.
Kerala Students' Week-Long Protest Forces College to Extend Curfew Timings For Girls in Hostels
India Times - Kerala, India, 3/23/2019
The women hostellers of Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur won a major battle when the college management finally accepted their demands of extending the hostel ‘in-time’. Now the in-time is 8:30 pm, as opposed to the earlier 4:30 pm. The students have been demanding it for years and have been protesting nonstop for the past week. But the development has come a month after Kerala High Court’s condemnation of the regressive rule in response to a petition filed by alumni Anjitha Jose. ‘The students deserve all credits for this revolutionary change,’ said Jose in a statement, ‘I was fighting this battle alone years back. Now, my juniors took it forward and I am happy that they get to enjoy the freedom that my batch never got.’
China, Burma Failing to Stop ‘Bride’ Trafficking
Epoch Times, Bangkok, 3/22/2019
Authorities in China and Burma are failing to stop the brutal trafficking of young women, often teenagers, from the conflict-ridden Kachin region for sexual slavery, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. The report released on March 21, 2019, says women are often tricked into travelling to China in search of work or kidnapped and held against their will to be sold as ‘brides’ for Chinese men. Most of those taken hostage by Chinese families are locked up and raped, it says. The report urges authorities to do more to raise awareness about the risks of trafficking, provide more support for victims who return home, and to prosecute those guilty of crimes against them.
Thailand’s Transgender Politician Pauline Ngarmpring: ‘I Do it for Future Generations’
Egypt Independent, Thailand, 3/22/2019
On March 24, Thai voters will elect a new parliament, and 52-year-old Pauline Ngarmpring, a transgender candidate, is contesting the polls. In fact, Ngarmpring is one of three candidates put forward by the party for the post of prime minister. She is, however, not considered a front-runner. In a recent interview, Ngarmpring says she wants to bring hope to the marginalised and create political space for future generations of LGBT people. ‘People around the world think that Thailand is a sort of paradise for LGBT people but in reality it is so difficult for people to come out of the closet,’ said Ngarmpring. It is this stigma she seeks to fight in her political career. If elected, she will be the Thailand’s first prime minister.