Trans women were forced to serve in army in Thailand

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According to the Thai law trans women that did not undergo the gender reassignment surgery are obliged to serve in the army as men. At the age of 21 men in Thailand can either serve a voluntary six month stint in the army or risk their chances in a lottery held every year in April. If they receive a black ticket in the lottery they are free to go home. But if they draw a red ticket the men are forced to serve two years.Trans women often commit suicide not to serve in the army. ‘Most are stressed and worried that they will be undressed, stared at, or humiliated in public,’ Jetsada Taesombat, executive director of the Thai Transgender Alliance for Human Rights told Reuters. Exceptions are made for people with mental illness or who are not physically able to serve. Trans women are offered exemptions but have to go through a humiliating medical examination to prove they are not lying. While trans women are generally accepted in Thailand they are not allowed to update their official documents to reflect their true gender. A doctor will examine her to check if she has breasts or had reassignment surgery to see if she is telling the truth. If a woman has undergone surgery she is exempt for two years from serving. But if an army hospital decides a trans woman has a ‘gender identity disorder’, she is exempt for life. Trans women said describing them as having a disorder is wrong and stigmatizing. But the army argued it has improved its attitude to trans women.

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