all images are copyright © 2000 by Utopia, Founding Sponsors of the festival.
Seize Silom Road!
(Matichon newspaper, Nov 6, 2000)
The Nov 5 parade of Purple Queens in the “Bangkok Gay Festival 2000” was very luxurious and marvelous on Silom Road. Many poster signs were raised such as “New Millennium Gay Men Don’t Deceive Women”, “10% of the Thai Population or 6 million gays joined hands in this parade”. Famous transgenders such as Jern Jern, the beautiful vocal singer; Chanya Moranont, crowned Queen of the Year 2000 in the USA; champ kick boxer Nong Toom Parinya Charoenpol, all participated in the parade. Moreover, one of the most famous hero-actors from Hong Kong, Ku Tien Ler, the hero of the Jade Dragon, also joined in.
The parade started at 6pm with a beautifully decorated truck, just like a mobile discotheque. Amidst the loud music, both Thai and foreign gay people enjoyed singing and dancing donned in fancy, sexy costumes while others were scantily clad. The parade moved from Silom Road to Suriwong Road and entered Narathivat Rachanakharin Road before returning to Silom again. Lively crowds packed both sides of the street. They were overwhelmingly interested and took photos with the participants.
It was reported that Her Royal Highness, Ubolrat Rachkanya, together with her daughter, Khun Ploy Pailin, also watched the parade from the Silom Complex Building.
The ICON Club held a grand party and sold tickets at 500 Baht each. Most of the buyers were foreign tourists. Besides dancing in the festival, there was a Most Beautiful Queen Contest, the Most Handsome Guy, the Best Looking Couple, and the Most Luxurious Costume.
Khun Natee Teerarojjanapongs, the director of “The Fraternity for AIDS Cessation in Thailand”, hoped this festival could inform society that 10% of the total global population is gay. “We also wanted to build the understanding that gay men should not deceive women by being pushed to marry." He added that the opening ceremony of the parade, even though appearing to imitate western culture, tried to insert some Thai culture, and he was very glad that the Thai gay community was allowed more exposure.
Khun Wisanu Prasertkul, one of the parade participants from Phuket, said that Thailand was one of the world’s gay parades which interested foreigners besides Australia, the USA, and the Netherlands. From November 9th to 12th, another gay festival would be held in Phuket.
Pakorn Pimton, the Bangkok Gay Festival organizer, stated that this year the festival was far more lively than the previous year because there were thousands of gay people from all over the world participating in the festival including the foreign press who were interested as well.
Mr. Pimton said that before the date the festival began, he had contacted some senior officials to be the chairman of the festival such as Bangkok Governor Samak Sunthoravej, and Korn Thappharangsi, the head of the National Development Party, but they did not attend. “We wanted to invite senior officials because gay people would feel more courageous and less isolated. We’d also like to know what they think about the gays. But it’s a pity that no one agreed to join this festival, however, the show must go on."
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