Getting old and gray does not mean giving up sex. In southeast Asia, especially Thailand, many retirees find renewed romance and sexual pleasure among the country’s welcoming young gay generation. This story incorporates another earlier story of unknown origin, published perhaps in Thai Puan magazine, perhaps in 2011 in Bangkok. The author is unknown. (If readers recognize any identifying information please contact GlobalGayz at firstname.lastname@example.org.) On the gay beach at Jomthien Two miles south of Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand under sunny skies, 85 degrees in November with gently swaying palms. It’s a bit like a UN gathering here: on my right is a Brit; in front of him is a Norwegian; on my left a Russian; scattered around are Americans, Dutch and Germans. Surrounding all of them are Thais: the beach crew renting out chaises, the fresh fruit vendor, a pirated DVD seller with current Hollywood blockbustersSee the Full Version Here
Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country in terms of total area. About 80% of the population is ethnically Thais, 10% is of Chinese origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay. Thailand is one of the most devoutly Buddhist countries in the world. The national religion is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by more than 95% of all Thais. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, as the ruling monarch. The King has reigned for more than 60 years, making him the longest reigning monarch. The King is recognized as the Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, the Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and Defender of the Faith.
Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been ruled by a European power. The current 2010 political infighting has destabilized the country.
There are no laws against gays or lesbians in Thailand. However, there are some Buddhist laws that prohibit openly gay men to enter monkhood. Transsexuals (known as Kathoey) are imbued in Thai culture via television and cabaret shows such as the famous Calypso performances in Bangkok. Thailand has an (almost) annual gay pride events in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chang Mai and Phuket. The health authorities work together with the gay community to promote HIV education and prevention. Gay and transvestite actors also play key roles in Thai movies and soap operas.
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Capital: Bangkok - Pop. 8160522
Area: 513115 sq. km. / sq. miles.
Status of Homosexuality: Legal
Telephone Country Code: 66
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Bangkok city is like no other with its complex mix of modern skyscrapers, super-engineered SkyTain (and subway) and many exotic old world Buddhist temples and adoration of the aging King. Up-scale life is abundantly visible in the countless Mercedes cars (and an occasional Rolls Royce) and 5-star high-rise luxury condo towers. Low-scale life is visible in every back alley where small dark houses are home to the working class. There are of course many midscale houses crowded between these two extremes of the urban jungle. In a city of 8 million, everything is crowded but the city pulse continues daily and smoothly, including the relatively small LGBT scene. Posted .See the Full Version Here
It’s hard to imagine anywhere in the world a city with more food offerings than Bangkok, Thailand. Street kitchens by the thousands, tiny pantries, hole-in-the-wall eateries, open air market food stalls, fast food chains, 7-11 stores snacks, elegant 5-star restaurants–open day and night, many until midnight, fewer all night with customers eating plates of rice, fish, chicken, noodles, veggies, crepes, strange looking green things… Abundant and ubiquitous are all these food fountains that steam, deep fry, stir fry, boil, bake their particular specialty. A picture is worth more than a thousand words. Posted Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand.See the Full Version Here
By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com 11/11/11 I’m in Thailand for the umpteenth time. Last time the big event was was funeral for the king’s sister, a prolonged three-day elaborate ritual of pageantry and pomp. It was covered extensively on Thai television and attended by hundreds of thousands dressed in black. The focal person was His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the longest reigning monarch in the world–since 1946. Disturbing to see was his frailty. A special elevator was installed in his sister’s cremation temple that lifted him six steps since he was unable to walk up, where he then lit the funeral pyre. This year his health continues to be very fragile. The Bangkok Post reported that he was unconscious for a while yesterday until doctors discovered an internal bleed and was stabilized. Aside from the personal and intimate aspects of this situation is the looming reality that his much-unloved son willSee the Full Version Here
Bangkok is a city with many faces, many lives and very diverse styles of living. Here are random images of day and night life in this city of royalty, prosperity and poverty.See the Full Version Here
Chaing Rai is the capitalof Chaing Rai province, Thailand’s most northern territory. It was once notorious as the center of the Golden Trangle (conjoining Thailand, Laos, Burma) where illegal drug trading flourished. Today the trade (most of it) is gone replaced by tourists. It’s a modest commercial hub with temples, street markets and curbside kitchens everywhere. The Mae Kok River runs along its north side, flowing from west to east and eventually merging with the Mekong River. The night bazaar is a real slice-of-Thai-life and a good place to sample local food and entertainment. There is a small gay population, not a ‘community’ that does not demonstrate or make festivals. More tourist information can be read at Utopia-Asia and Purple Dragon (LGBT sites).See the Full Version Here
Jomthien Beach (or Jomtien Beach) is located about 2 kilometers south of Pattaya. This beach area has become popular for swimming, water sports and residential living because it has a long scenic coastline and there is less boating activity in the area than at Pattaya Beach. There are many good hotels, bungalows, guest houses and restaurants. A lot of Thais and tourists come to this area and enjoy the quiet scenery and the long beach. Chairs and umbrellas are available to sit and to have food and drink, or to go swimming. Water sports such as wind surfing, para-sailing, water skiing as well as beach volleyball are available. Jomthien is very gay affirming with gay-owned restaurants, guesthouses, saunas, massage places, and bars; the beach area is mixed and friendly. Sansuk Guesthouse-Sauna are featured in the photo gallery, along with Tui’s Place on the sand at Dongtan Beach, a large andSee the Full Version Here
By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com December 7, 2010 Bangkok For the third year in a row there is no BKK Pride festival. Ask different people and get different answers: disinterest from local Thai activists; lack of police cooperation; no money; homophobia; frustration and withdrawal of foreign leadership. “There are just too many obstacles, resistance and petty infighting to overcome to get the festival and parade going,” said former Pride leader Douglas Thompson, a longtime American expat who runs Purple Dragon Tours in Bangkok. There is no cohesive LGBT community organization that represents gay life in Bangkok. Perhaps because of the immense size of Bangkok’s 12 million people–including more than a million LGBT people, foreign and native–spread over an area of a hundred square kilometers in which there are numerous separate gay-preferred areas speaking different languages, not to mention the distinct class separation between upper class and lower class gays who avoidSee the Full Version Here
Westhampton, MA – September 4, 2009 Richard Ammon – GlobalGayz.com The Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT) has discriminated against a straight boxer for posing suggestively for the cover of a gay magazine. This is a new take on homophobic discrimination: instead of acting prejudicially against a gay person, the ABAT has discriminated against a non-gay star boxer for posing for the cover of a magazine. How do we know it’s homophobic? The magazine he posed for is a gay magazine, Stage, and for that non-obscene photo the boxing leaders have banned Olympic silver medalist Worapoj Petchkhoon for three months from athletic competition. (See story below and here.) Appearing in a gay publication does not “present a good image” said boxing officials obviously suggesting the photo is disreputable. What is not clear is what the officials think is good or bad about the photo. If this same photo had appearedSee the Full Version Here
Intro: A casual visit to an historical WW II site became a moving experience when one of our tour group members revealed a powerful memory. The bridge was transformed from a curiosity into a vital memorial to the men who suffered here. Also see: Gay Thailand Stories Gay Thailand News & Reports 2000 to present Gay Thailand Photo Galleries By Richard Ammon October 1994 A Distant Memory Over the River Kwai in western Thailand is a particular bridge that today bears passengers on creaky railway cars high above the muddy waters. The trip across takes a mere three minutes and after that the railroad winds into the dense foliage toward Burma. This is no ordinary bridge and no ordinary railway. It is the epitaph of thousands of young men who suffered or died building this crossing. Around the world this site is known as the ‘Death Railway’. Those three minutes,See the Full Version Here
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty, as the present king. The King has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch. His Majesty the King is recognised as the Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, the Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Upholder of all religions. Due to the government of the Monarch, Thailand is one of the few countries in Southeast Asia that has never been colonized by a European power. Photos 1-11 were taken at the ceremonies for his 50th year of reign. Bangkok: In the span of over two hundred years, Bangkok has been the political, social and economic center of not only Thailand but for much of South East Asia and Indochina as well. Its influence in the arts, politics,See the Full Version Here
Ko Samui Island (photos 1-9) is Thailand’s third largest island, with an area of 228.7 km2 and a population of over 50,000 (2008). It is rich with natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees. Bridge at River Kwai (photos 10-17) commemorates the 92,000 civilians and prisoners of war, including a number of New Zealanders and nearly 3000 Australians, who died at the hands of the Japanese military, a sign at the entrance of the museum states: "A life for every sleeper". At "Hellfire Pass", the prisoners of war worked 18-hour shifts to blast a passage through the mountains. From the top of the mountain ridge, the flickering torches looked like the fires of hell. Gulf of Thailand (photos 18-27) Due to the tropical warmth of the water, the Gulf of Thailand harbours many coral reefs, and thus several diving resorts. Most popular for tourism is the islandSee the Full Version Here
Thailand is one of the most strongly Buddhist countries in the world. The national religion is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by more than 95% of all Thais. This partially accounts for the high tolerance level of gay life in Bangkok. Buddhism does not overtly condemn homosexuality as do Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Gay Bangkok is alive and well–too well for some who criticize the laissez-faire cultural attitude that looks the other way at sex-for-pay and widespread HIV infection. From 1999 to 2007 there was a colorful Gay Pride Parade and Festival every November but that has ended due to interpersonal squabbles and disagreements among business people who supported the event. (See this commentary: Bye-Bye Bangkok Pride) Read the stories about Gay Thailand Posted .See the Full Version Here
To view World Aids Day 2006 Bangkok gallery (not on GlobalGayz) – click here.See the Full Version Here
Gay life in Thailand is alive and well in half a dozen cities and towns, having survived six years of a homophobic prime minister. Now revitalized with more venues than ever, the scene continues to be as it was, both visible and invisible. Despite the glitter and spice of the nightlife, most LGBT citizens continue to live in the closet in deference to the conservative Thai culture and don’t indulge in the lights and sounds of the scene. This story is about the seen and unseen gay life of Thailand today. Also see: Gay Thailand Stories Gay Thailand News & Reports 2000 to present Gay Thailand Photo Galleries By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com May 2008 This story is in three parts: (1) Bangkok (2) Phuket (3) Pattaya (1)Bangkok Well, former Prime Minister Thaksin is gone but not forgotten. His wealthy cronies are everywhere and it remains to be seen howSee the Full Version Here
The week I arrived in Phuket to research a new story about local gay life in Phuket, this story appeared in the Phuket Post. It nicely usurped my intentions and added, no doubt, more depth and undestanding than I might have found. I am pleased to present it here, written by reporter Aparna Raut Desai. Also see: Gay Thailand Stories Gay Thailand News & Reports 2000 to present Gay Thailand Photo Galleries From: Phuket Post http://phuket-post.com/article.php?id=724 2007-04-07 Accepted and rejected–A look at the acceptance and rejection of gay people in Phuket by Aparna Raut Desai With the back-drop of the annual gay parade, the inimitable Phuket Pride, Phuket Post decided it was time to look at the the actual gay scenario on the island. Is there anything about Phuket beyond the bars and the go-go clubs, that makes it attractive to members of the gay community? What does PhuketSee the Full Version Here
In searching for human rights activity in Thailand it’s easy to be distracted by the sexy flash and booming discos of Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai, which to many visitors and reporters appear to present an exciting ‘liberated’ face of homosexuality in Thailand. However, the reality is quite different the longer one stays or settles in Thailand, or becomes involved in an intimate relationship with a Thai man or woman. A foreigner (farang) soon understands something quite different: the conservative pale that hangs over the lives of LGBT citizens and which overshadows by far the immediate short-lived neon of the nights. Also see: Gay Thailand Stories Gay Thailand News & Reports 2000 to present Gay Thailand Photo Galleries By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com June 2007 The Past To help appreciate the significance of the conservative tradition on gay life in Thailand, law professor, author and Thailand resident Douglas Sanders hasSee the Full Version Here
Also see: Gay Thailand Stories Gay Thailand News & Reports 2000 to present Gay Thailand Photo Galleries By Richard Ammon November 2001 (981 words) Glitter and Change Fringed by a huge storm cloud thundering in the high horizon, Bangkok’s third annual Gay Pride Parade nevertheless kicked off (dry) on time and in place November 4th. By 6 PM starting time, the unusually high temperature had receded from the sweltering mid-nineties earlier in the day. Festooned, feathered and fluffed, hundreds of marchers climbed aboard a few decorated floats or walked along the main avenues of Silom and Suriwong, one of the ‘gay districts’ of intense modern Bangkok. Disco/pop music blared from huge speakers on the floats, festive balloons arched over the platforms and a rainbow of colored lights lit up the evening scene. Catcalls, cheers and shrieks of delight pierced the heavy evening air. By kick-off time, a couple of thousandSee the Full Version Here
Also see: Gay Thailand Stories Gay Thailand News & Reports 2000 to present Gay Thailand Photo Galleries By Richard Ammon November 1999 Across the world gay thresholds continue to be crossed, venturing into new social and cultural territory, breaking open, or at least peeking into, centuries of cultural darkness regarding homosexuality. Taiwan, Tokyo, Manila, Hong Kong–slowly across Asia the cloud is lifting. On Halloween weekend 1999, Bangkok took its turn in challenging history and tradition. The first Gay Pride Festival and Parade rallied much support from abroad and, understandably, a mixed but tolerant response from the authorities. (The unmarried Prime Minister of the country is known to discreetly favor the company of men.) Standing among balloons, rainbow banners, and crowds of gay spectators, twenty-five year-old Winai from Bangkok had never seen anything like it. "This is the most special day for me," he claimed excitedly, then ran over to embraceSee the Full Version Here
By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com February 2009 Fantasy Life As I wrote this story, Thailand was glued to a royal funeral ceremony via millions of TVs, radios and live in central Bangkok. For eight hours, since 0700 on a Saturday in November 2008, monks and ancient horns filled the solemn air with prayers and chants as the two-kilometer –long regal procession has bore the ornate golden chariot carrying the body of Princess Galyana to the cremation site in Luang Prabang park adjacent to the glittering Grand Palace. The Princess was the beloved sister to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The entire royal family and attendants as well as the top political leaders, military brass and hundreds of thousands of common citizens patiently waited out the long slow Buddhist rituals and state ceremonies required to bid farewell to the beloved Royal Princess. The streets downtown had been scrubbed clean and potted flowersSee the Full Version Here
Lesbians in Thailand Intro: Lesbians present a different scene than the men. More modest in their sexual expression, there are no lesbian saunas where women walk around in towels cruising each other, although there are lesbian bars. Various reasons have been offered to explain this difference, from men’s more predatory nature to feminist distaste for imitating male habits to women’s natural nurturing subjective demeanor versus men’s penchant for objectifying sex—or powerful social traditions that shape and limit women’s roles in society. The two stories presented here focus on lesbians in Thai culture and the search for an identity that is unique to women who love women. The first report is more recent (2004) and the second is more than 15 years old. However much of the insight and ideas described here, in both stories, are still very much current in Thailand culture and society. Both stories examine the organizationSee the Full Version Here