Thailand has always been a popular destination for the LGBT community. But recent developments in the country's real estate market has not only solidified its reputation as an LGBT-friendly country but has also encouraged more and more LGBT Chinese buyers to invest in a Thai property.
In fact, Thailand is the top Southeast Asian destination for Chinese LGBT real estate investments. A Chinese website called Juwai.com recently released information that most LGBT Chinese purchase condo units in Bangkok and Phuket, places they find comfortable to live in.
Around 8 per cent of the total property inquiries in Thailand was attributed to Chinese buyers who were either transgender, gay, lesbian or bisexual. In the last year and a half alone, inquiries from Chinese buyers accounted for nearly 33 billion baht ($1 billion US). $80 million baht of these inquiries came from the LGBT community.
Last year, their purchase power was just $60 million short of $1 billion, tripling within a 2-year period. China's LGBT group has an average monthly income that is five times bigger than the country's income average.
According to an analyst, this is because the Chinese LGBT have no children, which increases their already large disposable income. Spending power or not, LGBT daily life in the motherland is not without difficulties. In 2001, the Chinese government classified homosexuality as a mental health disorder.
They prefer to stay in countries that more or less tolerates or accepts the LGBT community. In such countries, they can openly express themselves rather than curtail their identities. They can engage in relationships and live openly without suppressing their affections. Experts say that property ownership in Thailand is but a manifestation of their desire to live comfortably and freely.
Though generally a gay-friendly country, Thailand laws do not support same-sex households.