Thai Health and Sexualities Studies Association Introduce Thailand’s First Wellbeing Plan for LGBTIQN+

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Sexualities Studies Association and Thai Health Promotion Foundation (Thai Health), as an organization with a mission to “inspire, motivate, coordinate, and empower” Thai people for the enhancement of their physical and mental health see the importance of systematically promoting the LGBTIQN+ people’s health with the curated process.

Consequently, Thai Health has decided to formulate Thailand’s first “LGBTIQN+ wellbeing strategic plan”. Thai Health has appointed Dr. Chanettee Tinnam, a lecturer at the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Dr. Kosum Omphornuwat, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Thammasat University, and Ratana Duaydee, Multidisciplinary College, Christian University of Thailand, to be in the research team for this project.

“LGBTIQN+ wellbeing strategic plan” was first introduced on September 22, 2020, at Mandarin Hotel Samyan, during the discussion and hearing for opinions towards the draft of the plan. There are many experts, scholars, activists, politicians and, health professionals whose works related to LGBTIQN+ well-being joining the event.

ThaiHealth’s Poranee Phuprasert, director of the foundation’s vulnerable group wellbeing promotion office, said that Thai Health wants an academic analysis with fair, unbiased, and well-rounded opinions that can indicate the most urgent problem among the LGBTIQN+ community.

They wanted to hear from lecturers, partner organizations, those who are working with the community, and those with a passion to be the driving forces in and for the LGBTIQN+ community. Thai Health is hoping that his strategic well-being plan will not only bring the change to the LGBTIQN+ community but also be beneficial to everyone dealing with all the much-needed changes in society.

Dr. Chanettee Tinnam, the research group leader, explained that in the draft of this wellbeing strategic plan (2021-2023), the team intended to use the term “LGBTIQN+” to include everyone whose gender identity doesn’t align with the expectations associated with the sex they were presented at birth.

LGBTIQN+ is an initialism that stands for L-lesbian, G-gay, B-bisexual, T-transgender, I-intersex, Q-Queer, N-Non-Binary, and the “+” sign to emphasize that their identities are not fixed.

“From our research relating to the problem with the wellbeing of people in the LGBTIQN+ community in Thailand, there are many important problems such as school bullying, employment discrimination, poor health service access, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, etc. The team has also researched the context of the wellbeing, finding gap as well as conducting in-depth interviews with people and scholars draw up the LGBTIQN+ wellbeing strategic plan (2021-2023).”

The research group leader also said that in this three-year plan, they have set a vision to eliminate health inequities among the LGBTIQN+ community, and discrimination on gender identity and to make sure their rights are protected. These are to ensure their well-being and allow them to live in a society with well-being in every aspect including both their body and mind so that they can take part in creating a better society.

There are 5 strategies in the plan. The first strategy, being the most urgent, is to protect the LGBTIQN+ human rights and dignity by shifting the health professionals’ mindset towards the LGBTIQN+, creating an LGBTIQN+ wellbeing database, and developing the system for them. All of which will be done with specific needs and overlapping people’s identities in mind. Besides, the plan will also create and strengthen the connection between partner organizations to promote civil society, which potentially leads to a safer and friendlier environment for the LGBTIQN+.

In sum, this “LGBTIQN+ wellbeing strategic plan” will help to promote better wellbeing for the LGBTIQN+, and to make sure there are clear direction and goals that can be clearly measured for every organization including the government sectors, private organizations, and civil society.