The Novotel Siam Square is planning a press conference today in order to issue a formal apology for barring entry to a Bangkok local two weeks ago.
The local is Sutthirat Simsiri-wong. Because Sutthirat was born as a man but chooses to live as a woman, she was denied entry into the Concept CM2 nightclub at the Novotel Hotel in Siam Square. The door staff explicitly told Sutthirat she could not come in because she was katoey, the Thai word for what many Westerners would call a transvestite.
Last Thursday Sutthirat announced that the hotel had until today to issue a formal apology or she would take the case to court on the grounds that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of her sexual orientation.
In the meantime, over 100 organizations worldwide have been boycotting the hotel and its affiliates. The Bangkok-based gay rights group Rainbow Organization labeled its campaigning “Novotel No Homo-sexual” using its website to gain widespread publicity.
It seems to be working. The UK Gay News removed its “gay-friendly” label from the hotel group which includes the Novotel. Instead, the online media centre says, “This hotel is part of the Accor group and there is currently an international ban on the company following a problem in Bangkok.”
All boycotting organizations say that they will cease and desist once the issue has been resolved. They, along with Sutthirat, are looking forward to the press conference where the hotel’s general manager, as well as Accor Group representatives, will be present.
“Tomorrow everything will be concluded,” said Sutthirat by telephone yesterday.