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Guide Queer Bangkok 21st Century Markets, Media, and Rights (Queer Asia)

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Peter Jackson has done a first-rate job of bringing together interactions with the full range of sexual others in the expanding worlds of Bangkok, underlining its significance as a regional inspiration and the ways in which Thai notions of sex and gender have interacted with Western images to create new communities, identities and political possibilities. This volume will be essential reading to those with scholarly and activist interests in South-East Asian studies, as well as sexuality and gender studies.

It will also be useful to students of nationalism, postcoloniality, popular culture, urbanism, and capitalism. Other Books by Peter A. Quantity Add Paperback to Cart.

Quantity Add Hardback to Cart. Review, Exam, and Desk Copies. The economic boom times that have inconsistently enriched the East since then have long-ago widened the source of sex-tourists that came initially from Europe and America to include Asian countries like Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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People come to Bangkok now from everywhere in the Pacific Rim. All this has served to reinforce the association of Thailand with sexual paradise. I apologise immediately to any Thai readers and other lovers of the country if I offend by offering this crude approximation of the attractions of the country. There is, of course, very much more to Thailand than I describe; many come to Thailand for the other extraordinarily beautiful things that are found there.

But what you are reading is, after all, a Fridae column, so I shall remain unashamed of confining my introductory remarks about Thailand to the area of sex. I am ashamed, though, in reading the collection of essays in Queer Bangkok , to realise how ignorant I have been up till now of almost every aspect of sex, sexuality and gender in the country.

Read the collection of essays, many of them superlatively written, that Jackson has assembled here and see if your understanding has been any better than mine! Jackson is a member of the Editorial Collective behind the ground-breaking Queer Asia series published by Hong Kong University Press, of which this book is the fifth this one uniquely published jointly with Silkworm Books of Thailand; apologies are due here to the Press as our recent review of Falling Into the Lesbi World wrongly credited that volume — actually the sixth — with being fifth in the series.

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Jackson is a Professor at the Australian National University and a recognised expert on Thailand; he was one of the organisers of the 1st International Conference of Asian LGBT Studies in Bangkok in , which this reviewer was lucky enough to attend. He is also a fine writer: The book is organised in three parts: The picture that emerges from this collection is surprising and thought provoking. A background point that neither Jackson nor his contributors have need to labour is just how different the Thai approach to sexuality and gender is.

The Queer Asia series has long ago made it quite plain that approaches to sexuality and gender are culturally specific, in many cases miles removed from European or American models. This book adds to that, but goes further in indicating that, due to huge intra-Asian tourism from places like Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, Bangkok has become a centre in which Asian sexualities are being developed in ways that take them further from western ideas. In direct opposition to the European and American experience, the growth of access to the internet in Thailand has increased usage of gay venues and caused a multiplication of facilities, as the poorer members of society are brought together online only to find that they have to meet outside the family homes in which they still live.

Thai LGBT activists, too, have learned to depart from the legal and human rights models advocated by western activists to make progress under repressive political, even military, regimes. Despite the lack of liberal democratic systems, activists have initiated change, for instance, by embarrassing military men or staid bureaucrats who fear to appear lacking in modernity and so political legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

Collections on Thailand would not be complete without inclusion of something on the third gender and this collection is particularly strong here. Dr Sam Winter of Hong Kong University has penned an impassioned chapter making plain just how few rights transgendered people have in Thailand. On the surface, to the unaware, katoeys seem an accepted part of the fabric of Thai life.


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In reality, they are isolated and discriminated against. They often lead unsuccessful lives of abject misery. For the rest, unemployment, derision, social and family ostracism, abuse, drug dependency, self-harm and suicide are all too common fates. Several of the interesting themes that emerge from this volume are picked up by Peter Jackson himself.

Much of it is radically left-wing and antipathetic to capitalism. Commerce, as Jackson points out, may be exploitative but it may also be liberating. Sex workers may actually choose the life they lead as it allows them to earn more than they could in any other way, and to rescue, thereby, their status as filial offspring by contributing to the wellbeing of their parents, wider families and even villages.


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Liberating experiences abroad are brought home to alter and enrich LGBT lives. Commerce was harnessed by Dr Stuart Koe, former CEO of Fridae to enhance consciousness and change minds across the region with his Nation dance parties and with the online news site you are reading now. Big business, and in particular big finance, in Asia is increasingly building diversity organisations that are changing for the better the working lives of their employees and are making governments change their minds.

Queer Bangkok : twenty-first-century markets, media, and rights

The LGBT activist world has for over-long remembered the crass exploitation of the San Francisco bath owners, whose greedy refusal to change their ways contributed to the early spread of HIV, and it needs reminding even now that commerce is what has paid for much of the lifestyle it enjoys. There is still too much turning up the nose at commercial contributions to LGBT activism too little acknowledging them after the events they fund.

Asia, particularly China, is already its focus, not the West. The apologetics of queer theory are rapidly becoming outdated.

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Peter Jackson has observed in Bangkok the start of a much bigger trend. Fridae Join for free! Like us on Facebook. Please select your preferred language. Change is not always a bad thing Jan 1. Related Links Queer Bangkok: It was but not now: It means, odd, weird, etc. A little bit of decorum would not go amiss, especially when writing an article to be posted on-line.

Zactoon, you must be over Queer does NOT mean those things anymore. There is nothing disrespectful about it. Has your head been in the sand the last 20 years?

Queer Bangkok : twenty-first-century markets, media, and rights (eBook, ) [omyhukocow.tk]

Very excited to watch how things progress over the next century. I'm also looking forward to learning more about the Queer Asia series. I wonder if the difference in approach is not so much an East-West thing, as a difference between those places where gays have been criminalised and harassed, where a fight-back mentality created a community, and those places with a more Buddhist live and let live approach, where there was no criminalsation, and where commerce has been more of a catalyst for progress.

I say they forgot the rampant prostitution activities in that country. It's just about self-respect and and the respect for others. And yes, I am over 50, which only leads me to believe that you are not: Queer defined as a synonym, can be described as surprising, funny, astonishing, perplexing, odd, curious, unexpected, remarkable. Being gay or lesbian can hardly be expressed in any of these terms. Of those 16 years, 9 were spent working in the provinces outside of Bangkok, where there is a different world There should be a chapter on the North, South, and Northeast at a minimum and then broken down by location.

Well not complaining just observing. Let's all move out of Patpong and the DG and sex show world near Patpong and move it out to the real Thailand. And Bangkok, is part of Thailand, but like so many other countries, the urban mega centers represent themselves and that is about it. And no offense, but there is a famous saying, probably mainly about Bangkok I would give some clues about where to go even in Bangkok where there are no tourists, just local working class gay and mixed people having a good time. But if I did that, those nice scenes would be ruined.

In the end, when the people finally succumbed to the disease with no family around, the monks cremated their bodies and stack the packed ashes in front of Buddha.