To commemorate International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) 2017, the World Bank partnered with Humans of Bangkok to create a series of inspiring stories to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the families and relationships that LGBTI people have, created, or chosen, in all their diversity, in Thailand.
“Both my parents are teachers. They both have pretty high expectations of me to perform well at school and be a good kid. When I was in primary school in Lopburi province, I was like the ‘perfect’ child they want to have. Even though I’m pretty outgoing and enjoy dancing at school events, I don’t think it ever crossed their minds, and they probably thought it’s what all kids do.”
“Even back then, I started to have feelings for other boys. I was already quite different from the other boys who liked to play sports as I liked to read. One day, at a public library, I accidently stumbled upon a short story about gay men. It was the first time in my life to find out that this type of relationship even exists.”
“During middle school, I wanted to have a girlfriend because I saw other boys going out with girls. So I started approaching girls and had a girlfriend, but at the same time, I had feelings for other guys. I even secretly bought an adult men’s picture book. It was a very confusing stage for me and I had no idea who to talk to.”
“In high school, I moved to the city of Lopburi and lived with my grandmother. I had more freedom and it became clearer to me about who I liked. I had a boyfriend but lied to my parents when we hung out that we were just doing class assignments. I went out with him one day and came back pretty late. My dad called. I decided to come clean because I didn’t want to lie any more. As soon as they found out, they drove all the way to grandma’s house. I talked to mom. We had a heated argument. She asked me ‘why do you have to be like this?’ I tried to explain to them, ‘This is who I am. I told you the truth because I was worried and I don’t want to lie anymore.’ After that my dad and I had a talk. He asked me if I wanted to see a doctor. During that time, the media was already saying that being gay is not an illness. I tried to explain and told my dad, ‘I know what it’s like to be gay.’ He replied dismissively, ‘So you’re telling me that you are more experienced and not listening to us anymore?’ No, it was never my intention to communicate like this.”
“That was the last time we ever talked about it. I went to university, carried on with my normal life as a gay person, had a partner, and started to introduce the person I was dating to my mom though I was saying that we’re friends. I guessed she knew anyway. When we broke up, my mom would ask if I’m no longer seeing this person. 4-5 years ago, for the same old reason that I didn’t want to lie anymore, I decided to tell my mom about my partner. There were no harsh words from her. She only asked for his phone number just in case she couldn’t reach me.”
“My parents grew up at a time when being LGBTI wasn’t acceptable and they probably never encountered anything like this. So they panicked and worried because they couldn’t see what kind of future I could have. Maybe it was because I was still a kid then too. Now that I’ve grown up and they see me settling down with a good career, I must have eased their anxiety and worries. I’m not sure if they talk about it with each other, but these days the tensions have really cleared up.”