Thailand’s film board has banned a movie about a transgender father struggling to raise two children, a move the director says highlights the conservative side of Thai society despite its freewheeling reputation.
The National Film Board ruled earlier this week that the film, “Insects in the Backyard,” cannot be shown in Thailand because it contains scenes that are immoral and pornographic.
Authorities have not yet published a public explanation of the ban issued Wednesday, but culture and film officials said the board objected to several scenes, including at least one that showed an explicit depiction of two men having sex.
Director Tanwarin Sukkhapisit said the scenes were crucial to the story line and could not be cut. She plans to appeal the ban.
“The problem with my film wasn’t that it was a gay-themed movie — because there are many gay comedies allowed in Thailand,” Tanwarin said in a telephone interview Friday. “My movie was banned because it was a serious movie. It showed there can be real problems when society cannot accept sexual differences.”
Thailand is known to outsiders for its tolerance of a very visible transgender community, just one aspect of the country’s look-the-other-way permissiveness that sometimes runs afoul of the government’s efforts to maintain traditional Buddhist values.