If you ever wondered what a society would look like if it's completely accepting of homosexuality: have a look at a city like Bangkok. Here, gay and straight people live peacefully (and colorfully) side by side. Apart from some probably unrelated political turmoil, there are no signs of the wrath of God at the sight of so much sin and sodomy. Instead, the benefits of cultural diversity are expressed through a multitude of uniquely Thai social characteristics. Even in a country like Holland, which boasts an image of great LGBT tolerance, studies show a shocking 90% of gay people have suffered physical violence as a result of showing public affection for a same sex partner. This, in Thai society, is unthinkable.
Appearance belies your inner spirit
Why are Thais so tolerant? I honestly don’t know. I don’t think there is a singular explanation. In general, my observation has always been that Thais rather accept something they don’t understand than live in conflict with it. Another important factor is that, even with a culture where appearances matter greatly, a body that looks like a man might very well carry a female spirit inside. Guys liking guys, women behaving like a man, it’s all part of being human in the view of most Thais. There are always inner layers beneath the outer layer of appearance. Some people are 60% male, others are 90% woman. And it doesn't matter, you can even be regarded as macho and still engage in same-sex relationships. In the soi I live in, a motorbike taxi driver is as tough as his peers; he just wears lipstick to work.
Homosexuality is not a defect
In the view of the West however, a man that loves another man is seen as an abnormality. A defect. In this vision, God’s flawless template of attraction introduced by Adam and Eve got corrupted along with the rest of His divine paradise. Whether or not a bad apple caused all of this; the influential sex researcher Alfred Kinsey states that people can fall anywhere along a continuous scale of sexual orientation, with only small minorities fully heterosexual or homosexual. Here, in Thailand, people have had this vision all along. “Same same but different”.
The way to the heart of gay Thailand
So now that you’re in Thailand, you can be who you are. Open and as much entitled to the pursuit of love, happiness and appreciation of what to you is cosmic beauty. So you powder your face, put on that nice shirt or dress, pick something short to wear because you’re hot, and out the door you go. But wait! “Where you go?” Pinktrails.com is here to help you answer that, and then get you there.
We’re celebrating the cultural diversity of Thailand by putting all the gay venues and points of pink interest on a map. We’re actually on a motorbike weaving through traffic, taking on the grid locks, the Bangkok heat and the rainy season turbulence. We’re driving from gay bars to gay saunas, LGBT friendly hotels and restaurants, gay nightclubs and massage shops. Stopping at each venue and taking down the coordinates. The result: an interactive map of the sprawled out pink side of Thailand. Pinktrails.com is a location based website which works on all devices, desktop and mobile. Tell it your location and it will show you what’s around and what you can expect to find there. We’re currently mapping out Bangkok and will move to other areas of Thailand as well. The first public release of Pinktrails.com has just been put online and we’re adding more venues every week.
We’re committed to making Pinktrails.com the ultimate toolkit for the gay explorer. Our development plans are dictated by the feedback of our users. So please share your ideas and suggestions with us via Twitter, Facebook, Google + or as a comment on this article.