Gender madness in Thailand part 3 

I find that as I order my thoughts about this, the blog posts stretch out ahead of and behind me like a huge plain, sprouting – a sea of words. I hope I can arrange them into something coherent – there is just so much to say. Maybe you’d like to get comfy? Get a cup of tea, or your lunch, or a beer. Whatever you like.

Back now? I’ll continue.

So where did I get to? I believe that I was just outlining the deep in entrenched prejudices that exist in Thai culture against lesbian gay transgender and third gender people. I was doing so in relation to one of mummy AW’s oldest friends.

There is a reason why I’m doing this and that is because there have been some major changes in Thailand’s fertility law and, well, they would not be out of place in the Stone Age (if they somehow developed some extra-utero fertility technology).

I need to add in some background here for newer readers. I originally started blogging because our journey to motherhood was quite a challenging one, and I felt sure there would be other lesbian couples in Thailand struggling to find a Dr whose principles were low enough (lol) to treat them. (If you are interested, you can read about that over at Bangkok Baby Project).

The case in Thailand is very much, as you might imagine, that the rules can usually be bent. This is one of the most appealing aspects of Thailand for holidaymakers and I suppose of the lifestyle of Thailand for the wealthy. Unless the police were trying to make a point (and then you’d really be screwed), money talks. And talks. And talks. Especially if you are a foreigner as well.

There are pros and cons to this and it ends up being an exceedingly frustrating side to Thai life, as then you are able to see decisions being played out on a larger scale, for example in city planning (I swear there is no such thing- BKK just sprang up in the most haphazard and completely random way, leading to a city like a crowded collection of pipes, passing under and over and through each other yet never connecting. Family is important, the rest… Not really); or traffic – Bkk is already famed for its abominable traffic problems. What did the government do? Introduced cash incentives to buy MORE cars on finance (what is the betting that someone influential had interests in car production?).

Anyway, I feel I’m in risky territory now, so I will say no more about the governance (the Internet is censored in Thailand and Laise Majeste law prevents open discussion about the royals on pain of treason).

Suffice it to say we wanted to leave Thailand because it still regards lesbians as sub-human, but also because it’s politics and society is deeply contradictory and try as I might to integrate, it is inaccessible and alien to me. It is also decidedly undemocratic, and I wanted to return to a place where those sorts of things are protected (but you can pretty much see the same issues of money-for-me-and-sod-you-all bubbling in the UK under our charming party of Rich Old Boys).

Then there were our immigration issues that led to feelings of exile from the UK. Nothing like being told you can’t go home to make it seem the most appealing place on Earth.
Mummy AW feels more positive about Thailand, naturally, but it’s failure to acknowledge our relationship and her status as mother (and the girls’ right to dual thai /Brit citizenship) and the crap employment deal she and her friends always got compared to those with high ‘status’ was also a deciding factor. Thai social status/ rank is enough to fill a book- but pretty much any foreigner will work alongside a thai in the same position on a contract offering 5x the remuneration. Or 10x your salary when they manage you, get you to work like a dog and then take the credit.

Can you keep the thread? Lots of tangents… So where am I going with this? Somewhere, I promise, and it does relate to the post title.

(get on with it!)

I have helped a number of other couples directly in their struggle to become a family by referring them, always privately, to my doctor. I was never sure to what extent he ‘should not’ have treated me, as in our initial consultation we discussed the pressures I would come under as a single parent, and we maintained this charade the whole time. It was only during the course of treatment, which spanned 18 months, that my relationship with Mummy AW became apparent. I don’t mean that he caught us snogging, I just mean that our togetherness was obvious – why would we always be together, and why would we constantly be in discussion about the minutiae of birth choices? It was touched on briefly by mistake by the nurses who came to know and like us, but I think you could count the number of times on your finger. He never ever mentioned it.

I think that he would have been in a riskier position if he had agreed to treat Thai single women, because I think that has always clearly been against the law (whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!). I know he has done it and that others have too. The reasoning in our case (and in that of the 4 other couples I know) has been that the ‘single woman ban’ did not have to be apply to foreign women, because they are not citizens of the realm. Perhaps if we made a bunch of degenerates, they wouldn’t be thailand’s problem. I speculate.

So, what’s changed? Enforcement, I think. It is difficult to get a full picture from Prague. Maybe I can make an analogy to illuminate: It’s a bit like park police not stopping the trade in wild animals, until something throws the spotlight on it in the media. Then they do something Really Visible and Extremely Effective like catching a truck of carcasses and jailing the perpetrators for life. The analogy is flawed of course because single (man-less) women having the desire to nurture a child are not doing something criminal.

Oh wait….

More next time. And that will be it, I promise!

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3 thoughts on “Gender madness in Thailand part 3 

  1. I find it fascinating that in the West, a lot of people think that the Indian subcontinent and Thailand, because the cultures acknowledge a third gender, are bastions of gender tolerance. 1) It’s ridiculous to consider gender something to be tolerated and 2) Um no. I’m so glad that you have your littles, but I’m terribly saddened that you still contend with the challenges you have. When the US Supreme Court recently announced that marriage was marriage, regardless of the gender of the participants, I told my daughters. J’s reaction was, “Well, that’s good. Everyone should be happy about that.” And really, that’s quite how simple it is. As I like to tell people, if you don’t think gay people should have kids, then don’t be a gay person who has kids.

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