Trans lecturer wins years long discrimination legal battle against university


Kath Khangpiboon. | Photo: Twitter/@kathnong

One of Asia’s most prominent trans and LGBTI activists has won a legal battle against her employer for discrimination after a three-year long battle.

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Kath Khangpiboon, 31, became Thailand’s first trans lecturer when she was hired to teach at the prestigious Thammasat University in mid-2014.

But only a few months after her appointment she was fired for ‘inappropriate behavior’. The university was unhappy she had posted a photo of a penis shaped lipstick on social media.

‘One of them was a photo I posted of a lipstick shaped like a penis,’ Kath said at the time.

‘It was sent from someone in Japan, as part of a discussion about how sex is very accepted in their culture and even lipstick can be turned into a sex toy. The university used this topic to attack my suitability as a professor.

‘I feel that the university council members still have conservative ways of thinking. They assume that by posting the content, I was being perverted. It is a common stereotype of LGBT people.’

Since then Kath has been locked in a legal battle with Thammasat to be reinstated.

In 2015 she sued the university for discrimination saying her dismissal was a violation of her human rights.

The legal battle was won on International Women’s Day

But on International Women’s Day, Thailand’s Administrative Court ruled Thammasat discriminated against Kath.

The court ordered the university must register her within 60 days of the ruling. But the university promised to appeal the decision.

‘I’m really happy today. What the court ruled is what I’ve been waiting to hear for three years,’ Kath told Khaosod English.

‘I hope that my case will inspire many LGBT people who are discriminated against in the workplace to speak up and demand justice.’

Kath is one of Thailand’s most prominent trans advocates and founded the Thai Transgender Alliance.

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