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FEATURE STORY

Humans of Bangkok: Papada Kittichuangchot and Thanita Wongprasert

May 15, 2017


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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. 

Papada Kittichuangchot (Mother)

"When I was young, I wanted to go to school but (it was not possible) as my mom put me to work, helping with the family business. I carried that dream with me, of wanting to go to school growing up. So with my two children, I gave everything I had and did whatever I can to ensure they got the best education. When they graduated, they got decent jobs and had successful lives. Getting an education was my only aspiration and expectation of them. I asked them, but never forced them, and they did it for me. One of my children graduated from Thammasat University and is now working at an embassy. When people ask, I'd say with pride "my child works at the embassy and she speaks English fluently". I can show off my kids.”

“In other aspects of their lives, I leave them alone. When my daughter was young, she wanted boy's clothes. I bought them for her. In her university days, she would sometimes dress as a girl, sometimes as a boy. I never said a thing. When I learned she had a girlfriend, I had no issue with that either. If they’re with somebody and that makes them happy, and as long as it doesn't affect her work, then that's fine by me. I was forced into marriage by my parents. It did not work out and we parted. I don't force my kids when it comes to private matters."

Thanita Wongprasert (Daughter)

"Ever since I was little, I always wanted to dress like a boy. On shopping trips, I'd pick up boy's clothes and my mom bought them for me. During secondary school, we had to keep our hair short. My mom would tell the hairdresser to give me a boy's cut. She never said I could not do this or that.”

“I’ve always been confident that I’m not attracted to boys. I told my classmates that I like girls. Even though I never seriously told my mom, I never tried to cover it up either. Up till now, I have not officially told her. Perhaps it’s not necessary. I think deep inside she knows because all my life, [my interest] has always been girls. I don't look like this every day. Some days I look masculine. Other days, I look feminine. I cannot really define myself whether I am a tomboy or a lesbian. But then I don't bother to define myself.”

"My mom’s style of raising me made me confident of who I am. If she can accept me, then I don’t really care what others think. If we talk about challenges [for LGBTI people], then that'd be the absence of a law that recognizes same-sex union in Thailand, which we desperately need. Recently, I was admitted to a hospital and my partner could not sign documents on my behalf. The doctor had to call my mom. Fortunately, things went well. Opponents [of the same-sex union law] say that Thailand is not ready for it. People still don't understand, but I understand because it happened to me. Thai law only recognizes marriage between a man and woman. My partner’s rights are not protected in the absence of such law in Thailand. We’ve been together for four years and we plan to get married in the UK. But still it means nothing when we live in Thailand. We want to see this law in place to protect our rights here, too.”



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