Gay and lesbian transgender women can get military deferment in Thailand if they don’t want to serve.
In Chonburi province, at a recruitment station near the resort city of Pattaya, Sisters Foundation volunteers are providing legal assistance to transgender women who have applied for exemption from military service during Thailand’s annual military draft, reports the Khaosod newspaper.
Foundation director Tithiyanan Nukpor said the activist group will help LGBT people not only at the recruitment in Banglamung but also at upcoming draft events in Chonburi and Sattahip.
To qualify for deferment from military service in Thailand, women who were born male must submit a medical report on their physical and mental condition, confirming the validity of their gender choice.
Transgender recruits no longer undergo a medical exam but must undergo an interview in which they answer a series of clarifying questions. How long has a man identified as a woman, for how long has a man dressed as a woman, and so on. Officers also check personal social media accounts for photos that support their claims.
The Sisters Foundation has created a handbook for LGBT people who don’t want to serve military duty. The handbook explains all the laws and regulations regarding compulsory military service in Thailand for men under the age of 20. The handbook also lists other necessary documents that must be submitted to the draft board.
The foundation, among other things, assists homosexuals who are not ready for military service by helping gay men obtain a one-year deferment from the military in Thailand.
Colonel Yuttapong Kongnil, deputy commander of the 14th Military District, thanked the Sisters Foundation volunteers for their help, admitting that the military does not know how to address gender identity issues. With the arrival of foundation representatives, the uniforms of transgender women applying at the station have also changed. Blatantly feminine and even provocative dresses have disappeared, and those who came to the ceremony are dressed in conservative clothing,” the colonel noted.
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