02 November, 2006

Transexual Thai army conscript excused due to "mental disorder"

Mr Samart pictured 2 years ago after being conscripted into the Thai army.

A transexual Thai man is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Thai Army. The contested wording on the man's conscription certificate exempted him from military service on the basis of having a "permanent mental disorder".

Samart Meecharoen, a 22-year-old university student, claimed the document deprived her of career opportunities. A private firm recently turned down his application for a part-time job, citing the army document as the reason. Samart's petition to the court, supported by the National Human Rights Commission, the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand and the Saphan Group representing same-sex lovers, will be submitted to the court on November 10.

"I cannot accept the mental disorder statement because I don't have a mental problem. In fact, I'm a normal guy who feels like a woman," said Mr Samart. She has long hair and has worn women's clothes for a long time. He has had a breast operation but has yet to change her sex organ.

He said unless the document is changed properly, she would have no chance of working after finishing his studies at university in the next two years.

"I am the breadwinner of the family. If I have no job, I don't know how to earn money to feed my ageing parents," she said.

The army earlier this year recognised the problem and agreed to remove the term "mental disorder" from the document for new conscripts, as urged by rights advocacy groups. However, it has yet to find ways to change the old documents. Army lawyers have suggested citing "unusual chest size" or "abnormal chest structure" as a possible solution.

Watch this space for the court's decision.

The staff of FunkyPix2 pose with a katoey (Ladyboy) friend at Hua Hin, Thailand. She was cunningly pressing her fake strap-on hips against me whilst proprietorially eyeing off my bum(bag).

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