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Entertainment, Features

The Thais that bind: Woody Milintachinda on marriage and coming out

Vuthithorn ‘Woody’ Milintachinda is a leading figure in the Thai entertainment industry. 

As a television personality, chat show host, content creator, and producer, he made headlines when he married his same-sex partner back in 2014. 

How did people find out you were gay? 

Photos of my wedding with my boyfriend – which wasn’t even a legal wedding; Thailand doesn’t have that law yet – leaked a few years back. 

It was a private wedding with just 12 of us. 

My crew told the hotel management that this ceremony would be held between two people; a guy and a girl that were my friends pretended as if it was their event, but it was actually my wedding. 

Nobody was able to bring their phones because we didn’t want anyone to know. That’s how scared we were. 

We had photos of the wedding taken by our cameraman, but those photos got out. 

So, I came out on my show talking about it and saying that it was a ceremony between me and my husband.

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What was it like coming out to your family and friends? 

I came out on my show quite late – only about four or five years ago – because I was afraid that the ratings would plummet. 

But people kind of knew, even though it was a subject we didn’t talk about. 

Growing up in Thailand, I didn’t see any gay role models. I only had Ellen, and she’s not even Thai! 

I thought that there might be other people out there who are insecure about who they are, so maybe it was time for me to be who I am. 

So, I came out on my live morning show, and oh my goodness, it was so good! And my mom messaged me that morning to say, “Love is love and we love you for who you are.” 

It’s so nice to come out in Thailand because they embrace diversity here and they embrace you for who you are. 

I feel so safe to finally be myself and who I really am. 

I’m also able to do things like interview David Beckham on Facebook Live and tell people that he smelled so nice!

How has being openly gay impacted your show? 

Before coming out, I didn’t dare invite LGBT+ guests to come on the show because I was afraid of what I’d say if they asked if I was gay as well. 

But ever since I came out, I’ve been able to invite guests from different walks of life. 

I’ve had so many guests from different spectrums of sexuality, like a trans woman and a lesbian couple coming to talk about the process of having a child. 

So, coming out has been a good thing, and ever since then, I’ve had people messaging me and I get to reply to them with some help. 

The other day, I had a fan message me saying that he wanted to come out to his parents that same afternoon. 

I told him to wait a second; you can’t just do that. You need to see what your parents are like because there are some people in Thailand who are okay with who you are, but they might not be able to kind of communicate with you and others who are just not okay with it. 

You can’t just come out when you feel like it; you have to use your instincts. It’s not just in Thailand; it’s a worldwide thing.

What do you feel about your bigger role as a celebrity? 

My job is to live life and show the world that it’s okay to be gay. I’m just living my life and doing what’s right for me as a gay man. 

I think that at the end of the day, you want to be living your life 100% free. It might be tougher for some people and easier for other people… that’s what we’re heading towards because that’s where we all want to be. 

For me in Thailand, it’s 100% free, but I wouldn’t be able to say that for other people. 

It’s a privilege for me to be in Thailand. I’m so blessed and so grateful. But there is work to be done.

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What do you love about the LGBT+ community in Thailand? 

I think every LGBT+ community in the world is different. 

From my own understanding, it’s more relaxed, more fluid, and easier to talk and connect in Thailand. And it’s happier. 

There’s a phrase we use here: ‘same same but different’. 

We know we’re different, but at the end of the day, we’re ‘same same’. 

It’s about living with happiness and seeing the possibility that you can be anywhere in Thailand or travel to any part of the country and feel like you belong in our family. 

How long before Thailand has marriage equality? 

People ask, “Why do you need to be legalised?” They’re still not aware of the situation. 

The conversation started last year. The media was talking about it and we have more celebrities asking questions about it too. 

Even posting a few of my wedding photos with my soon-to-be-legalised husband on Instagram gets more conversations out there. 

But really, it’s time for Thailand to legalise this. 

It might not be this year but, with more content going out from the media, hopefully a year or two from now. 

Two people, no matter what sex they are, should have the right to love, to be accepted, and to be legally married. 

We’re still in talks right now. But I know that it will happen.

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