Both Thailand and the Philippines are Southeast Asian countries with many cultural and historical links. However, they have developed in separate ways over the centuries. Let’s hear from Harloi, an outspoken advocate for the LGBT+ community in the Philippines who currently lives as an ex-pat in Thailand. He narrates his thoughts about the current societal climate of both nations focusing on the LGBT+ Acceptance.

        1.     Living both in Thailand and the Philippines, how can you compare the status of LGBT+ in the said countries?

        According to my experience and study for my Masters thesis, both nations are tolerant of LGBT+ people but not entirely accepting. Apart from the lack of LGBT+ legal safeguards, there are other constraints, confinement, and limitations firmly embedded in society’s common knowledge. There is no significant difference in LGBT+ tolerance between Thailand and the Philippines. However, I contend that Thailand is more tolerant than the Philippines. Since Thailand has more LGBT+ activists and adaptors in significant parts of society, such as Religion, Politics or Government, Education, and Business. In other words, there are several contrasts for LGBT+ status merely because they are not universally accepted.

        1. Living in Thailand, how do you see yourself as part of a better change for an inclusive society?

        As a Filipino residing in Thailand, there is an intersection between how I am treated as a foreigner and as an LGBT+ person. I believe Thai society is more receptive of LGBT+ expats. As a result, I have no first hand knowledge of how native Thai LGBT+ people are treated in their homeland. Nonetheless, based on my interviews and study, I believe I understand how these people are discriminated against based on their SOGIE. These are either from the several worldview systems that make LGBT+ unnatural. Now, I view myself as a player in eradicating, if not blurring, the barriers that keep LGBT+ people from being fully accepted in this context. For example, to the greatest extent feasible, I may pass on my knowledge of LGBT+ Acceptance from person to person. And leverage my expertise by drawing on existing implicit and explicit understanding of the issue, such as academics, activists, and the LGBT+ community. Alternatively, I may generate media material to disseminate the knowledge indirectly. For example, is my final research thesis on LGBT+ and mini- informal LGBT+ clips on social media. Of course, wherever feasible, engage the major societal sectors of Religion, Government, Education, and Business to align with LGBT+ Full Acceptance outcomes.

        1. What can the education sector do more to support LGBTQ+ advocacy?

        The Education sector is a crucial hotspot of scientific and common sense knowledge. In other words, formal education provides tremendous validity to knowledge. As a result, they are the keeper of the truth. What teachers say in the classroom is as good as “gold,” especially in Thailand. The traditional Thai teaching method is a one-way street in which pupils are expected to absorb the information without questioning it. In this setting, the LGBT+ idea remains tolerant and, at times, discriminatory. The education sector may help LGBT+ advocacy by constantly incorporating scientific knowledge in favor of LGBT+ legitimacy into the educational system. Several research studies back this up, including but not limited to health sciences and social sciences. Furthermore, the sector may encourage strategies to incorporate scientific knowledge into common sense for LGBT+ campaigning. In other words, many people think what is plausible but not necessarily true. As a result, the education sector should explore approaches to shift perception and activity toward the intended LGBT+ advocacy goals.

        1. What are the most important things you want to tell LGBTQ+ communities in Thailand and the world?

        I’d want to stress that several intersectionalities impact LGBT+ status. As a result, it is preferable to see LGBT+ issues holistically rather than as a result of a single systemic cause. Intersectionalities result in a variety of discrimination and acceptance outcomes. As a result, it is our task to deconstruct these intersections and view them as a whole to develop unique solutions and implement them. It is never simple to bring together LGBT+ activists, organizations, and other key players. However, I feel that creativity begins to arise at conflict’s frontiers. And innovation is synonymous with change. Hence, we must overcome them to attain significant results.


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About Harloi

Harloi is a Bangkok University Master of Business Innovation graduate and a former Finance Control of Deutsche Bank and Australia and New Zealand Bank in Manila, Philippines. He was a Pride champion on banks’ pride networks and a pioneering member of Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride throughout his seven years working in investment and super-regional banks. Harloi was a member of the leading team that advocated for extending Health Security Benefits to domestic partners, including our LGBT+ members in his previous company. The initiative’s success was the first in the Philippines’ financial industry. He graduated from Bangkok University, Thailand and is now a Foreign Teacher at Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand putting him in a new industry. As a side interest, Harloi enjoys the cultural phenomena of Boys Love and Kpop and shares some related media through vlogs and documentaries on his social media accounts.