Thai LGBT advocates to start a party of their own

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LGBT advocates in Thailand are working to found a political party of their own, to give them a larger platform on which to call for equal rights under the law.

According to the Bangkok Post, the name of the group will be the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Rights Party, or SRP for short.

The timing is too late for the SRP to fully participate in Thailand’s next election on February 2, but unlike some anti-government protesters, founders told the media that it doesn’t mean they are in favor of postponing the election.

According to online news site Free District, at a meeting held on December 28, party co-founder Chumaporn Taengkliang told members of the local LGBT community, “We cannot do it in time for Feb 2,” but didn’t let the setback get in the way of their plans. They hope to draw in members from both sides of the most polarizing issues in Thailand today, many of which originated in the Thailand political crisis of 2005-2006.

By forming a new party, the members of the SRP also hope to move Thailand’s focus past some of the more highly charged political clashes in the country, according to director Pongthorn Chanlearn of the anti-HIV and AIDS advocacy group M Plus.

Another SRP co-founder, Patcharee Sae-eaw, said that the party plans to focus on getting laws passed that ensure equal treatment for everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity; he explained that the LGBT community is still struggling to be accepted within mainstream Thai society.

Unsurprisingly, one of the first issues the SRP wants to promote is marriage equality, something Thai LGBT activists have already been pushing for.

Though issues directly related to the LGBT community will be the party’s main priority, organizers promised that those that concern the general public will not be ignored.

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