Social Issues

Thai lawyers permitted to dress according to gender identity in court

Bangkok, Nov 29 (EFE).- Thai activists on Wednesday welcomed an official amendment in which the Thai Bar Association permits lawyers to dress according to their gender identity in court.

The Bar Association’s amendment, published on Monday in the official Royal Gazette, means that its members will be able to dress according to their gender identity or sexual orientation and not just their assigned birth sex.

According to the current regulations, depending on their gender, lawyers must wear navy blue, black or dark trousers or skirts, a white shirt, and black or brown shoes.

The change in regulations allows trans women, who show as men on their identity cards, to wear skirts.

Nitihub, a group of activists specializing in legal issues, told EFE on Wednesday that it welcomed the progress, but that the changes must go further to give freedom to any lawyer to dress as they wish, as long as they comply with a minimum of decorum and formality.

“Our standpoint is that [dress codes] should not separate between each sex but just have one cover all sexes,” whether cisgender or LGTB+ people, said a spokesperson for the group, which has been working for years to make the Thai judicial system more inclusive.

In March, the Bar Association also changed its regulations to allow female lawyers to wear trousers in court, as they were previously required to wear skirts.

Behind this move was Nitihub and the Human Rights Lawyers Association, which in 2017 started a campaign on Change.org to demand the right of female lawyers to wear trousers, attracting more than 16,000 signatures.

Strict etiquette regulations are common in Thailand, including in schools, although some universities now allow students to choose trousers or skirts to avoid gender or LGBT+ discrimination.

Thammasat University approved the freedom to choose uniforms in 2020, while Chulalornkorn University did so in 2019 and Bangkok University in 2015. EFE

sm-grc/tw

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