Thailand’s Dept of Disease Control links rise in monkeypox cases with Pride Month in now-deleted tweet

Left: The now-deleted tweet from the Department of Disease Control’s official account. Right: Angry replies to the original tweet
Left: The now-deleted tweet from the Department of Disease Control’s official account. Right: Angry replies to the original tweet

Everyone is up at arms on Thai Twitter today after the country’s Department of Disease Control tweeted about the rise of monkeypox cases and insinuated that this month’s upcoming pride celebration might lead to more.

The now-deleted tweet, posted by the department’s official account on Thursday evening, stated, “The Department of Disease Control advises people to be vigilant against monkeypox as 21 cases were found in May.”

While the tweet’s text seemed harmless enough on its own, it was attached to pictures from previous Pride parades. 

Many believe the post was insinuating that the LGBTQ+ community was to blame for the rise of monkeypox and warn about Pride Month, which takes place in June.

Naturally, many criticized the tweet for being homophobic and fear-mongering.

The tweet was promptly deleted but many are still lambasting the department for spreading discriminatory misinformation.

“Monkeypox does not occur exclusively in same-sex relationships,” tweeted @MorYorWor. “It can occur in individuals of all genders. It is not only gay men who engage in sexual activities with strangers; people of all genders participate in such activities. Let’s stop creating stigma towards gay individuals and communicate about it accurately. Keep your biases at home before coming to work.”

“Why are you including pictures of the Pride Parade? It’s inappropriate,” tweeted @Avocadoit2.  “It’s already 2023, and it’s time to embrace diversity and change our attitudes. Let’s stop discriminating and be proud of our global community.

“For what? Tweeting and then deleting it? Is it for fun? It’s always so frustrating, many times over,” tweeted @Bankkymonkey. “The department low-key is acting as if they didn’t receive any training, it’s disappointing.”

“This is quite devastating by starting Pride Month with prejudice against diverse groups. Statistical data has already debunked the misconception that this disease is solely transmitted through sexual intercourse. People of all sexual orientations can contract this disease,” Bangkok-based queer photographer Watsamon “June” Triyasakda tweeted in response.

She provided research she had shared previously showing that, while monkeypox could be found predominantly among gay individuals, it should not be stigmatized by biased attitudes, similar to what happened in the early days of HIV/AIDS.

She also linked to a 2022 BBC Thai article in which the department of medical sciences revealed that it had a contingency plan including a stockpile of monkeypox vaccines that have been stored for over 40 years.

The now-deleted tweet included a link to a press release on the department’s official website saying the government agency would closely monitor Pride month as it believes monkeypox cases will “continue to rise among males who have same-sex relationships.” The press release has not been deleted.

Recently, it has been discovered that, while the transmission of monkeypox primarily occurs through close contact during sexual activities, it is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Infections can occur through other types of exposure, including non-sexual contact with infectious lesions and from contaminated instruments in clinical settings.


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