BMC Public Health (Oct 2021)

LGBT+ inclusion and human rights in Thailand: a scoping review of the literature

  • Peter A. Newman,
  • Luke Reid,
  • Suchon Tepjan,
  • Pakorn Akkakanjanasupar

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 21, no. 1
pp. 1 – 21


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Abstract Background Globally, LGBT+ people continue to struggle to achieve full realization of their human rights. Amid reported health and mental health disparities, and economic insecurity, we conducted a scoping review to explore the breadth of the literature, map and summarize the evidence, and identify knowledge gaps on LGBT+ inclusion and human rights in Thailand. Methods We conducted a scoping review in accordance with the methodology developed by the Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA-ScR guidelines. We systematically searched 16 databases for peer-reviewed literature, and government and nongovernmental organization websites for grey literature, published in English or Thai from January 1, 2000–August 21, 2020. Two reviewers independently screened studies according to pre-set criteria. We abstracted and analyzed data on publication characteristics and focal populations, and synthesized findings in six domains of LGBT+ inclusion: political and civic participation, education, family, personal security and violence, economic well-being, and health. Results The review captured 3327 results in total, which was scoped to 76 peer-reviewed articles and 39 grey literature sources, the majority published after 2010. Gay men and transgender women were the primary focal populations in the peer-reviewed literature, LGBT+ people as a whole in the grey literature. Health was the predominant domain across publications. Key findings include the absence of generalized antidiscrimination legislation for LGBT+ individuals and lack of recourse for transgender individuals to change their legal gender; multifaceted stigma and discrimination in the educational system; social isolation and exclusion in families; disproportionate prevalence of sexual violence and reluctance to report to police; discrimination and marginalization in employment; and LGBT+ disparities in health and mental health. Conclusions Future research and programmatic initiatives on LGBT+ inclusion in Thailand should aim to address: 1) understudied populations—lesbian and bisexual women, transmasculine persons; 2) underrepresented topics, including constraints to LGBT+ advocacy; 3) strategic policy initiatives around anti-discrimination laws and legal recognition of same-sex marriage and families; and 4) the need for consistent collection of disaggregated data on LGBT+ persons in education, family, economic, personal security/violence, and health domains in order to assess indicators of inclusion and progress in advancing human rights for LGBT+ people in Thailand.