'Third gender' will be acknowledged in the new Thai constitution

'Third gender' will be acknowledged in the new Thai constitution

The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) agreed yesterday to note the "third gender" or people of different sexuality in the new Constitution, a move likely to empower transgender people so they have rights equal to others in society under the law.

It will be the first time the gender will be acknowledged in a constitution.

The second day of charter drafting, article by article, included the section on civilian, citizens' and people's rights stipulated by the charter as under the 2007 Constitution.

Article 4 stipulates that the rights of human beings, dignity or freedom of people will be provided protection under the law.

It is followed by Article 5, which states that a Thai person no matter where they were born, what gender or religion they are, should be protected equally.

In the above article, many CDC members proposed to add the term "third gender or different sexualities" so such people have rights stipulated clearly in the new charter as well.

A CDC member explained that previous charters never stated this term or inserted it in any related articles. But it was mentioned in the intent of law under the 2007 Constitution, which by adding the term could mean it empowers this group of people to have rights equal to others in society under the law.

Another CDC member voiced support for the proposal, adding that it would be clearer to clarify who such people are in the charter as well.

CDC president Borwornsak Uwanno granted that the term "third gender" would be inserted in the draft, but said if they explained more on who such people were or stated the term further than "different sexualities" it could affect the proportionality of |the charter more than was necessary.

He said people already understood who they were with the term "third gender".

Further, in regard to civil rights, one member suggested that the draft should include the meaning "the rights of every civilian", stating that every citizen has rights equal from one to another.

He said there were issues in some occupations that showed discrimination towards those who were overweight, too tall or short, and the charter should cover this important topic seriously.

Therefore the CDC president agreed to the suggestion, but explained that in regard to this topic it was mentioned clearly in previous charters and that the concept of this charter was for everyone have the same rights and freedom under the law.

Borwornsak said that in the real world there was discrimination that could not be eliminated, but there were two kinds - one was fair discrimination and the other was unfair discrimination.

For instance, if 500 people applied to be government officials, but an agency only accepted one of them, that was fair discrimination that could be accepted in society, the CDC president explained.

Other scenarios were a woman not being allowed to be veterinarian, or a person who wanted to be a nurse who was under 150 centimetres tall being disqualified from such jobs - that was unfair discrimination, Borwornsak said.

He said "fair" discrimination was not accepted by the Constitution but condoned by society, while unfair discrimination could not be tolerated.

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