Transgender Thais forced to stand in queue for conscription – in humiliating process to prove they are women

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Transgender women in Thailand have become so stressed out about being drafted into the military that some have contemplated suicide to avoid it, it has been claimed.

The military makes exemptions for transgender women but only if they can provide a certificate proving they are not faking it, or that they have a “gender disorder.”

They still have to go through what many consider a humiliating or frightening experience, as they forced to queue for conscription with dozens of men to prove that they are women.

The potential draftees wait for military officers to call their names and decide whether they must be drafted as soldiers.

A transgender woman waits for a health examination

It’s a stressful experience for many transgender women

Kanphitcha Sungsuk, 21, wearing a cream-colored dress and checking her make-up and long black hair in a mirror, told Reuters: “I was born male, so I must be here, as duty calls.

Every April, Thai men who turn 21 must either volunteer to serve for six months or take their chances in a lottery. A black ticket lets them go home but a red ticket means they must serve for two years.

The obligation to respond to the draft stirs fear among many transgender women.

Kanphitcha Sungsuk holds up a picture of herself as a boy

Kanphitcha queues with young men

Jetsada Taesombat, executive director of the Thai Transgender Alliance for Human Rights, said: “Most are stressed and worried that they will be undressed, stared at, or humiliated in public.

“Some are so stressed out they want to commit suicide to avoid conscription.”

Exemptions are made for those who are physically or mentally incapable.

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