Here in Chiang Mai this has been a weekend for us to stand up and step forward.
Day before yesterday (Friday) a group of NGOs clustered around M-Plus in a rally on the plaza in front of Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall to mark Gender Diversity Rights Day in conjunction with Transgender Awareness Week. This is essentially a social-political movement to draw attention to the need for legal rights and protections. I notice that we do it differently here from groups with similar goals in Ohio and London who recently held nude protests. We made do with classical performances by transgender dancers from the 10 ASEAN countries of South East Asia, and speeches to open a four-day “ASEAN LGBTIQ Film Festival”.
Yesterday, December 1, was World AIDS Day. M+ and friends were back with new banners, familiar red ribbons, and speeches with a medical theme. The battle against the HIV-AIDS pandemic is far from over. Drugs have been developed which usually can partially control the virus, but there are still major issues: the drugs are not always available to those who need them because they are expensive, there is still no inoculation to prevent the disease, and it is spreading. Our own gay population stays at high risk, and honestly, brothers and sisters, our risky behavior is the big problem. Thai statistics show the rate of new infections is once again rising fastest in the young, male, gay sector.
Come on guys, you’ve got 60 high quality years yet to live. Don’t blow any of it for a three-minute thrill.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.