Homosexuality is not a mental disorder, declared Thailand's Mental Health Department (MHD) in December 2002. The World Health Organization's (WHO) has dropped homosexuality in its list of mental disorders. Will Singapore recognize homosexuality?
The MHD's certification was in accordance with the World Health Organization's (WHO) decision dropping homosexuality in its list of mental disorders. It is also the result of extensive lobbying made by Thai gay and lesbian advocacy groups led by Anjaree.
Although Thai society is basically more tolerant of same-sex relationships, gays, lesbians, transgendered and transsexual people still suffer from discrimination in the country. Correct information about homosexuals for the general public is lacking and public health officials have little knowledge on how to handle homosexuals' health care concerns.
Nikorn Arthit, president of advocacy group, Bangkok Rainbow Organization, said Thailand seriously lacks support groups to provide correct counseling and advice for the public, "The public health officials, for example, find themselves helpless when it comes to homosexual issues especially when dealing with youths. The visible support by the government agency will help urge counsellers to do a better job," Nikorn said.
The public announcement received positive feedback from the press. "This was seen as the first concrete step by the state to support the existence of homosexuals in society and to stem social prejudice and discrimination against them," said the Bangkok Post. "Public Health Dept accepts same-sex love not a mental sickness," read a headline by another major newspaper, Matichon.
The Bangkok Rainbow Organization and other gay and lesbian groups hailed the MHD's decision as a welcome boost to their advocacy of equality and acceptance.
Please note: Homosexual activity between consenting adults is illegal in Singapore. It is a crime under Singapore Penal code on Unnatural sex Penal code 377; Gross Indecency Penal code 377(A); and Outrage of Modesty.
However, it is not illegal to be homosexual.