Students in Thailand

Gay Marriage from America to Thailand

Dom is the gay boy in my Grade 5 class in Thailand. His personality shines as bright as his toothy smile, and he remains at the top of his class in both popularity and academics with his ability to charm and his quick wits. It’s not uncommon for Dom to burst into song and dance, thrusting his hips and pouting his lips, in between his times tables and language lessons. When I divide the students into two teams, boys and girls, for a game of hangman or another English activity, the sides would be uneven if it weren’t for the students hollering, “Teacher! Dom is a girl.”

gay student in thailandI look at Dom and ask if he would like to join the girls’ team. “Of course,” he says with a shoulder shrug and a glance up from his work, as if it were a stupid question.

I no longer ask such stupid questions, but I can’t help but wonder why so many people do. Are gay people born that way? Isn’t it bad for a child to be raised by a gay couple? And the most pertinent: Should gay people have the right to marry?

We shouldn’t need more examples of humans being human, but we do. Dom is just one of thousands worldwide who’s proving that homosexuality is more than just a sexual preference. At only 11 years old, Dom is comfortable being ‘different’ because it’s who he is. He hasn’t yet had to consider what this means for his future. Even in Thailand – a country of 95% Buddhist followers who believe his rebirth into a male body is just a part of his karmic reincarnation – gays are respected, but they cannot marry.

We shouldn’t need one more person to say that the right to marry a loved one is a basic human right, but for some ungodly reason, we do. If you think it’s wrong to enter a heterosexual marriage, then don’t. You’re entitled to your opinion, yes. But so are they.

We shouldn’t need anyone to explain that a child raised by two loving parents is better than that child bouncing between foster homes, or growing up in some other unstable environment, but we do. Many people still argue that children need a mom and a dad, but couples (gay or straight) don’t adopt children who already have parents; they provide a loving family for those who don’t.

Fortunately, the world does appear to be catching on. Just this month, France became the 14th country to legalize same sex marriage, and in April, New Zealand hopped on board, joining 12 other countries (Canada, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Argentina, Uruguay) that legally acknowledge courtship between gays. At least 10 more, including the U.S. (12 states already do) have proposed legislation to do the same.

It seems we’re finally on the right path, and in the words of Kate Pickert for Time, “thanks to a massive shift in public opinion, gay marriage went from inconceivable to inevitable in less than two decades.”

I believe, in time, the skeptics worldwide will begin to open their minds, to see the changes for good and to answer their own stupid questions with the obvious answers. One day, when Dom is old enough to marry, I hope he too will be able to do so, with whomever he chooses, and without question. I’m optimistic that America, in particular, will persevere, and be the example it set out to be all those years ago; an example of things we do need – equality for all.

students in ThailandOTHER MISSADVENTURES


Gay Marriage From America to Thailand
Written by:Jessica J. Hill

12 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    Great post! My son on our page wrote a post under the kids blog I believe about gay marriage. Keep up the great work!

  2. Andrea says:

    Great post, Jess. It’s hard not to be impressed by the environment in Thailand that treats sexual preference as it should be. I was so blown away by it and have also written about it in the past on my blog & here http://www.nyacknewsandviews.com/2012/09/ae_dontaskdontcare201209/ . Well said Jess and thanks for sharing!

    • jessicajhill says:

      Thanks, Andrea. It’s true, partly, that Thailand treats it as it should be. There are still many gays afraid to have a boyfriend, especially teachers, because they can’t marry. In such a prestigious position in their communities, they often live single lives because, as you know, the gossip can be excruciating! However, it’s nice they are treated normal, for the most part, in society, and that lady-boys are considered their own gender!

      I’m headed over to read your article now! Thanks for the comment. I hope you’re enjoying being home.

  3. I love it! It helps of course that I completely agree with you, but whatever one’s beliefs, that kid sounds adorable! I want to start doing multiplication tables, just so I can stop for song & dance time. You can tell him he has fans around the world, at least in Sri Lanka.

  4. I don’t think there’s any such thing as “sexual preference.” If there were, having seen so many people killed, tortured, maimed, and ridiculed because of their “sexual orientation,” I would have prefered to be heterosexual. Would have made life so much easier!

  5. Gayle Nelson says:

    Wonderfully stated Jessica! Your photos are always so captivating. Good to hear about the openness in Thailand. Hopefully we will get it figured out in the States one of these years… Originally from Illinois and now living in the Deep South, I have found it a tad rougher to live in Alabama as the prejudices run deep here. I am an educator. My own wonderful family – full of diverse cultures and sexual preferences is like any other family over the globe – we share the same universal worries and joys, along with prayers of hope for understanding.
    Keep up the great work with your students and keep posting the fantastic photos Jessica. :0)

    • jessicajhill says:

      Thanks for your wonderful comment, Gayle. I have yet to visit the Deep South, but I’ve heard it’s like that down there. Cheers to you and your family for staying strong and holding onto hope!

  6. Dean says:

    Such a great read Jess, I really love your blog!
    It’s heart warming to have an insight into this young boy’s life and even more heart warming to hear how accepted he is.
    It can be tough sometimes being a young gay person and it is just amazing that he feels comfortable enough to be different.
    Finally the UK (my home country) has grown wise to gay marriage. I look forward to the day I get married with pride in my country!
    Again great read!

    • jessicajhill says:

      I love how so many countries are finally deciding to embrace gay marriage! It’s wonderful to see all the couples finally able to celebrate their love in a way they should have been afforded years ago.

      It’s nice to hear from an insider on the subject, so thanks so much for weighing in. I’ll look forward to your wedding day with pride as well!

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