The first Pride Parade in over 15 years drew around 10,000 participants.
This article by Teeranai Charuvastra was originally published by Prachatai, an independent news site in Thailand, and an edited version is republished by Global Voices under a content-sharing agreement.
After a hiatus of nearly two decades, the Pride Parade returned to Bangkok, Thailand, on June 5 with a bang, drawing crowds of LGBTQ+ community members, sex workers, feminists, political dissidents, and even corporate advocates.
The event was so successful that even its organizers were taken by surprise, they told Prachatai English in an interview. Emboldened by the overwhelming reception, they are now aiming to expand the fight for gender equality beyond Bangkok by staging similar Pride campaigns across the country.
In an interview with Prachatai English, the team behind the Pride Parade shared their assessment of the event; how they managed to win such widespread support in a largely conservative Thailand; and how the recent election of Chadchart Sittipunt as the new Governor of Bangkok tipped public support decisively in their favor.
The “Naruemit” Pride Parade, meaning “creation” in Thai, included speeches, drag shows, and dance parties throughout the day. No official attendance data was released, but one of the organizers said the event drew an estimated 10,000 participants.
Longtime gender equality advocate Chumaporn “Waaddao” Taengkliang said:
I felt really proud. It’s an empowering experience, to know that what we did brought a bit of life back to our city and its people. And I was really touched, because I could feel that people had fun and hope, taking pride in the diversity of gender identities.
The parade attracted a wide array of participants, from members of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters, to women’s rights activists, foreign tourists, sex workers, advocates for same-sex marriage, and critics of the government who used the march to voice their political agendas.