Thai PM frontrunner joins thousands at Bangkok Pride parade

LGBTQ+ communities and their allies united at the event

Pita Limjaroenrat at pride parade
Prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat poses for selfie with Pride attendee
(Image credit: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty Images)

Thousands of people have united in Bangkok, Thailand to celebrate pride and to push for equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals.

The capital exploded into riotous colour to mark Pride Month, celebrated globally in the month of June. But revellers in the country are feeling “a little more optimistic”, said The Guardian, as they hope same-sex marriage will soon be legalised.

“Now is a time of new hope for the LGBTQ community,” Nahmmoei Pratimaporn, beauty queen and Bangkok Pride ambassador, told the newspaper. “We believe it’s going to happen quicker than we expected. It’s going to create a big wave, a big impact in society.”

Optimism has been buoyed by the attendance of the frontrunner to be Thailand’s next prime minister, Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the progressive Move Forward party, at the event.

He vowed to create “pride always”, the Bangkok Post reported, by supporting “the Marriage Equality Act and Gender Identity Act”.

The “spirit of Pride is very much alive in the city,” said Time Out. With rainbow flags “soaring high in many places around town”, it is hoped the city will show itself as accepting of diverse sexualities.

Bangkok has touted itself as Asia’s “most open city”, and has recently announced a bid to host WorldPride in 2028, added the South China Morning Post.

But while the country has a visible LGBTQ+ community, some political activists have argued Thailand’s “laws and traditional institutions have yet to reflect changing social attitudes”, the Bangkok Post said.

In November 2021 “the constitution court ruled that only a man and a woman could register a marriage, adding that supporters of gay marriage would need to amend section 1448 of the civil and criminal code”, said the Pattaya Mail. “Gay activists in Thailand are obviously aware of the need to amend the constitution at the time of writing the marriage equality bill, but challenges would be likely to delay the process substantially,” the paper added.

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Rebekah Evans joined The Week as newsletter editor in 2023 and has written on subjects ranging from Ukraine and Afghanistan to fast fashion and "brotox". She started her career at Reach plc, where she cut her teeth on news, before pivoting into personal finance at the height of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis. Social affairs is another of her passions, and she has interviewed people from across the world and from all walks of life. Rebekah completed an NCTJ with the Press Association and has written for publications including The Guardian, The Week magazine, the Press Association and local newspapers.