June is Pride Month in many nations. It runs from June 1st to June 30th. It is a month-long celebration that recognizes the LGBTQ+ community and their contributions to society. The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride and LGBT social movements. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.
Many countries celebrate Pride in June, recognizing L.B.G.T.Q. people and their struggles for equality around the world. In Asia and the Pacific, same-sex marriage is legal only in Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. In most Muslim countries, homosexuality is illegal and, in some countries, it is punishable by death. However, the struggle for equal rights and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community throughout Asia is one of enticing successes, tiresome stagnation, and blatant failures. Here is an overview of recent developments confronting LGBTQ+ people in various countries in ASEAN.
Thailand’s cabinet approved a bill which will allow same-sex couples to register their partnership and grants them the right to adopt children, own joint property, and more. The bill has been in the works since 2012. The frontrunner to be Thailand's next prime minister, Pita Limjaroenrat; leader of the progressive Move Forward party, is promising to pass a law that would allow same-sex marriage and gender identity rights if he becomes premier. · Singapore has a long way to go in granting equal rights to LGBTQ+ persons, but a ruling from the Court of Appeals in February 2022 is seen as a step forward. On 29 November 2022, history was made in Singapore. Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalized sex between men, was repealed.
Lao is to officially celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT Day) for the first-time during Pride Month 2023. According to Proud to be Us, an LGBTQ+ Rights advocacy organization, being LGBTQ+ is fully legal under Lao law, covered under articles 35 and 37 of the Constitution of Laos, which state that “all Lao people, regardless of gender, have equal rights before the law.”
Vietnam is another Asian country that has never had any laws against homosexuality. It does have some laws against anti-gay discrimination, and the military allows everyone regardless of sexual orientation to get enlisted. While same-sex marriages are not legally recognized, gay wedding ceremonies are still allowed.
Cambodia is one of the most accepting countries for gay people and has never had any laws against homosexuality. Cambodia also has a ‘Declaration of Family Relationship’ which is a civil contract for LGBT couples that allows the state to recognize them.
The Philippines has also never had any national laws against homosexuality. Over 20 municipalities in the country have passed anti-discrimination laws and bills seeking to introduce same-sex civil unions have been passed to the Philippine Congress.
Those are some examples of the improvement in accepting all gender equality in ASEAN. Pride Month 2023 is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the vibrant diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. Let us all celebrate equal rights and make a better community, a better world together.