| |THAILAND - Mar 27, 2003
Commander General Somtad Attanant of the Royal Thai Armed Forces informed the public that homosexual and transgender men will be excluded from this year's mandatory military recruitment. The annual draft takes place this year on April 1-11 and targets Thai men between the ages of 21 and 29. The military will no longer accept obviously gay, transvestite, or transgendered men because of a surge in the number of men applying to join, explained General Somtad.
Some type of medical physicians will perform on-the-spot screenings to determine whether draftees are sexually deviant. This, despite recent acknowledgement from the Thai Department of Mental Health that homosexuality is neither a mental problem nor a disease.
When asked if patriotic homosexuals who were willing to join the military would be accepted, the General responded that they would be rejected if their behavior was found to be improper. He added that this did not mean that the army was homophobic, but that it would be much easier to keep forces under control without gay men in the military.
It is not clear whether members of the military who recently organized the shocking and illegal late-night destruction of dozens of shops at a night market in the central business district of Bangkok were out-of-control due to gays. It is also unclear whether homosexual men and women currently serving at all levels of the Thai military would be affected by this surprising about-face in official policy.