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Court to Thai Military: Transsexuals Not Ill

Tuesday Sep 13, 2011

A court in Thailand has ordered the military to stop labeling transgender people as being mentally ill.

The Thai army conscripts adult males over the age of 18 each year. But it historically has disqualified transgender people from the process, classifying them as "having a permanent mental disorder." Transgender activists have protested that this stigmatizes them.

Samart Meechai, the 27-year-old transgender person who filed the case against defense officials, welcomed the outcome. She says transsexuals will "no longer be viewed as crazy people."

The court Tuesday did not bar the military from rejecting transsexuals and did not stipulate a new wording for the rejections.

Defense spokesman Col. Thanatip Sawangsaeng said the ministry will comply, and has proposed the new phrasing: "Current sexual status does not match that of birth."

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