Drag queens and LGBTQ creatives are hoping the new Thai version of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will bring LGBTQ people to the forefront of Thai citizen’s minds.
Despite being a conservative Buddhist country, Thailand is known as a LGBTQ-friendly country. This is partially due to its abundant gay night scene and the society’s acceptance of a third gender.
This increasing acceptance of LGBTQ people has led to the World Bank declaring that Thailand could become a world leader in work inclusiveness.
That said, the country still isn’t as liberally minded as Western countries and is dealing with gender and sexual equality issues such as not legalizing same-sex marriage.
But as 29-year-old Pan Pan Narkprasert sees it, there could be a change coming in the country.
Bangkok resident Pan Pan is a professional drag queen who performs at a weekly show in the Silom nightlife area of the nation’s capital. On top of that, he is now a co-host of the newly released “Drag Race Thailand.”
Last year, we shared with you the news that Thailand would be getting its own version of cult-classic-turned-mainstream-entertainment “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The show premiered last month, and has earned steady viewing numbers since.
Pan Pan hopes that the growing popularity of the show in Thailand will help give attention to the drag scene in the country and to LGBTQ people in general.
"The drag scene is growing so much more because of shows like 'Drag Race Thailand' and 'RuPaul's Drag Race'," Pan Pan told Reuters.
"Thailand's drag scene is new and fresh because drag is a form of Western culture, but Thai people are really interested in it."
In addition, Piyarat Kaljareuk, who’s the executive producer of "Drag Race Thailand", says he wants to help make drag queens in Thailand as mainstream as RuPaul’s show has made them in America.
He believes drag queens are "artists who don't yet have a platform for expression that is widely accepted," Piyarat said.
Piyarat also says this will then bring attention to LGBTQ people in the country and their rights.
"I don't want to say one show can change the world," he said, "but I certainly hope to one day see equal rights and equal social opportunities."