NEW DELHI: After India and Nepal, it’s Thailand, another South-East Asian nation, which has decided to recognise the ‘third gender’ in their constitution. The Drafting Committee, which took this move, was empanelled to form a new constitution after the previous one was scrapped as a result of a coup last year May.

According to a member of the committee the decision was taken to empower the transgender and gay community to get fairer legal treatment.

We are putting the words 'third gender' in the constitution because Thai society has advanced," he told Reuters. "There are not only men and women; we need to protect all sexes. We consider all sexes to be equal."

An interim constitution was adopted in July last year after military imposed a junta rule post-coup, also known as National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), till the time a final constitution is drafted.

The Drafting Panel will send the new proposed legislation’s details to National Reform Council in April for junta’s approval.

Panel spokesman Kamnoon Sittisamarn said the new measure would ensure all sexual identities were protected under the constitution and treated equally by the law.

"It would treat all citizens equally and help to protect from discrimination in all areas including ease of doing business and also personal life," said prominent gay activist Natee Teerarojjanapongs, welcoming the decision.

Thailand does not recognise same –sex unions, impeding the process of procuring bank-loans and other state services.

It has a large LGBT community, popularly known as the ‘lady boys’ or ‘Kathoeys’. They form a large chunk of people who are associated with the entertainment industry.

There was a 20 % drop in the tourism industry immediately after the coup, causing considerable harm to the livelihoods of these people.