Joyce Lam
Joyce is a Trends Analyst at Mintel, focusing on capturing consumer behaviour for the Greater China market, as well as supporting the global Mintel Trends team to identify new consumer trends.

Some of Thailand’s most progressive companies have participated in what’s being called the country’s first transgender job fair. Held in March of this year, transgender rights group TEAK Trans Empowerment organised the event in Bangkok to coincide with International Transgender day of Visibility, inviting a number of LGBT-friendly businesses to participate.

Attendees included Watashi Engineering Co., Hardcover Books Shop, Krungthai-AXA PCL, APCOM and Asia City Media Group—all of whom had a presence at the event alongside talks and exhibitions exploring issues affecting gender minorities.

Support gender diversity

Thailand has a sizeable transgender population, particularly in urban areas like Bangkok where attitudes towards the LGBT community are more liberal than in rural areas. The country is home to an estimated 100,000 trans people, according to a 2016 United Nations study, and has a reputation globally for greater acceptance of the community. This is somewhat true; Thailand is a leading destination for gender reassignment surgery and many famous models and celebrities in the country are transgender. Despite this, the trans community still faces widespread discrimination, and is largely excluded from white-collar professions in Thailand.

However, like elsewhere globally, such attitudes are now changing in Thailand as the traditional, polarised view of gender is replaced by a more diverse model. This is encouraging more businesses to consider how they can serve the needs of non-traditional gender expressions in their products and services, and how they can help fight prejudice.

For example, we’ve seen the opening of Transfit in Bangkok, a gym that caters exclusively to lesbians and transgender men. In 2017, the UK saw the launch of a new makeup range that aims to cater to the needs of the transgender community, while the US city of Fort Lauderdale (Florida) featured transgender models in its tourism campaign.

What we think

Companies and brands that similarly show support of the transgender community are likely to position themselves at the vanguard of social change, and will have particular resonance in markets like Thailand which are driving shifting attitudes. This aligns with Mintel Trend ‘The Next Genderation’ which highlights how consumers are moving away from traditional gender stereotypes and expressions, and are instead embracing gender neutrality.