Every April Thailand’s transwomen have to report for military draft exactly the same as men are required to, at the age of 21.
Is this right? Should something be done to change it?
Transwomen kind of look forward to the military draft. Because every year there will be ‘Draft Angels’. (Beautiful transgenders that participate in the draft.)
Everyone wants to be a ‘Draft Angel’ because you stand out and get press coverage. At the age of 21, Thai men must report for the army draft.
It’s a lottery system, where a card is picked out of a bucket. If they pick a black card they get to go on with their life. But if they pick a red card, they must join the army.
International media frowns upon the fact that transgenders must go through this process. Having appeared in many articles is Thailand beauty queen winner from 2015, Nadia Wiruntanakid.
She explains how some transwomen feel about attending the compulsory draft.
“We just go because it’s our duty. But we don’t make the cut. Because we have had our breast surgery, have had our sex reassignment surgery.
We are deemed ineligible to be soldiers anymore. The military draft is something that has been there for a long time. Everyone must do their duty.
If that’s the law, we must go. But we get special treatment.
In my case they had a separate table for us. They let us skip the cue and give us extra care.
It’s not like before. People had to speak out about the fact that it would state on a document we were ‘mentally ill’.”
We spoke out against this, and now it is stated that we have bodies which don’t match our birth gender and that breast implant and sex reassignment surgery has already been done.”
But some transwomen, especially those who haven’t transitioned surgically, may face difficulties.
“For those who did not get the surgery, it is a little more difficult. If they don’t dress as a woman in daily life, they have to participate in the ‘draft lottery’ like everyone else, according to the rules.
Those who cross-dress on a daily basis and live as a woman but haven’t had any surgery, might be exempted.
They will also be listed as having bodies which don’t match with their birth gender.”
The army requests that transgenders attend the draft lottery, to ensure that they are genuinely a woman.
This way, some men who want to dodge the draft can’t do so simply by pretending to be transgender.