Thai Red Cross opens Asia’s first transgender clinic

Bangkok, Nov 30 (IANS) The Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, in collaboration with its US development partners, has opened the first clinic in Asia to target services exclusively to the transgender community, the media reported on Monday.

The Tangerine Community Health Centre, located on the first floor of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre in Bangkok, has been funded by the US Agency for International Development and was implemented by RTI International and partners.

It aims to become a model for quality health services and research on transgender health, the Bangkok Post reported.

Centre officials said current social, economic, cultural and legal frameworks, as well as health policies, inadequately address gender sensitivity and transgender identity.

It has led to issues such as misuse of hormones for gender-affirmation, vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, stigma and discrimination.

“This is an immense step for Thailand and the region regarding the mobilisation and advocacy for transgender health,” said Nicha Rongram, spokeswoman for the Thai Transgender Alliance for Human Rights.

The Tangerine Centre’s services include psychosocial counselling, hormone administration and pap smears.

The centre, managed by trained transgender personnel and gender-sensitive medical professionals.

Think before speaking: Thai deputy PM to US envoy

Reacting to remarks by the US envoy here about the military rule in Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Monday advised ambassador Glyn Davies to think carefully before speaking.

Prawit was responding to Davies’ comments at a Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand inter-action on November 25 where he lashed out at “the lengthy and unprecedented prison sentences handed down by Thai military courts against civilians” for breaching the lese majeste law, the Bangkok Post reported.

Thailand’s lese majeste laws are among the strictest in the world. It is a crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against the state.

Since the military coup in 2014, the military junta has brought up 53 lese majeste cases, including 40 for online comments and posts.

The deputy prime minister claimed that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which seized power last year, provided more freedom than other juntas and was developing sustainable democracy in the country.

He asserted that the government attached much importance to human rights and provided much freedom, including freedom of the press, and no other junta had done the same.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said trade ties between the two nations could be affected if Davies repeated such remarks.

Human rights groups and governments worldwide also have criticised Thailand’s military regime for its curtailment of civil liberties and human rights.

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