Thailand is consistently hailed as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in the world. It holds international transgender beauty pageants, offers quality gender reassignment surgery, and was the first in the region to criminalize gender-based discrimination. The government has leaned into this queer-friendly image in tourism campaigns, but members of the local LGBTQ community say the reality is very different. You might have heard that Thailand, especially Bangkok, is a hub for LGBT people around the world, but that’s [just] for tourism. As an insider, I feel like [Thai society] allows LGBT people to express their identity, but they [do not support it] by policy or by law. Stigma and discrimination [still exists against] the LGBT [community],” Kathawut Khangpiboon, co-founder of the Thai Transgender Alliance and lecturer at Thammasat University, told VICE World News.