Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 529–542 | Cite as

Intersections of LGBTI Exclusion and Discrimination in Thailand: the Role of Socio-Economic Status

  • Timo T. OjanenEmail author
  • James Burford
  • Adisorn Juntrasook
  • Athita Kongsup
  • Titikarn Assatarakul
  • Nada Chaiyajit


Previous studies have found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Thailand experience discrimination and exclusion based on their non-normative sexes, genders, and/or sexualities. However, such studies have insufficiently analyzed how intersecting characteristics shape these experiences. We conducted 19 life story interviews with LGBTI individuals in Thailand to track how exclusion and discrimination are influenced by their socio-economic status (SES). The study documented cases of discrimination and exclusion in education, employment, health care and insurance, housing, and financial institutions. Experiences of exclusion and discrimination were not universal but were profoundly shaped by an individual’s SES. Participants with more economic and social capital encountered less anti-LGBTI exclusion and discrimination and had greater protective factors to negotiate any discriminatory experiences they encountered. Our findings point to the necessity of considering the role of SES in policy advocacy, development efforts, and future research on LGBTI issues in Thailand.


Discrimination Exclusion LGBTI Intersectionality Thailand Poverty 



This research was financially supported by the World Bank in conjunction with the Nordic Trust Fund. The research reported here was based on qualitative data from a broader research project; the quantitative findings were reported by the World Bank Group (2018). We owe a debt of gratitude to World Bank colleagues who worked with us on this project, including Piotr Pawlak, Maria Beatriz Orlando, Dominik Kohler, and Phil Crehan. We also wish to thank all participants in this study who generously shared their time and their stories. James Burford now works at Research Education and Development, Graduate Research School, La Trobe University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


Note: We refer to authors of Thai-language documents using the name-surname format and alphabetize these authors by their first name, following Thai-language publication custom.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Learning Sciences and EducationThammasat UniversityKhlong Nueng, Khlong Luang, Pathum ThaniThailand

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