Thailand is a ladyboy paradise
Kingdom of Thailand is one of countries with high level of understanding of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender). There seem to be some discrimination and prejudice to them, but you would see the difference with the rest of the world during your stay in Thailand. They seem to live with the majority and be comprehended in the society.
In Japan, they are called “new-half”, in Thailand called “Kathoey” in Thai or world widely “Lady Boy”, and they belong to “transgender” category of T in the “LGBT”.
I met not only a lot of kind gay people there but also cute and beautiful, sometime scary Lady Boys for the last 2 months journey in Thailand.
Travelers speak the same sentence “Thailand is Lady boy paradise.” Good looks, round body, fierce, tremendous impact. Curious gaze is poured to them at every moment.
I want to write about them with some research by internet and my own experience.
Thai Lady Boy is too beautiful!
If you have been to Thailand, you must know that Thai lady boy is wonderfully beautiful. Their beauty is almost charming sights of Thailand and is precious tourism resources.
Tiffany’s Show Pattaya Co., Ltd is a ladyboy Theater located in Pattaya. And it sponsors “Miss International Queen” tournament. It is as famous as the Miss Queen Of Universe held in the United States.
This tournament started in 2004 and Thai ladyboy won three times until 2014. The consideration of the profit of the host country is needed, though, if along this result, it can be said that still Thai ladyboy boasts the beauty of the world’s leading. A bigger ladyboy population than other countries could be connected to the high quality.
By the way, do you have any famous ladyboy celebrity in your country?
We Japan have very famous “new-half”. Her name is Ai Haruna. She tried Miss International Queen tournament of 2009 in Thailand and got the title of the most beautiful “new-half” in the world. She is a celebrity who plays active rolls in Japanese media as an impersonator, actress and singer. Good job for the 37-year-old Japanese “new-half”.
The reason why there are many ladyboy in Thailand?
I can’t find any data to prove the bigger population of them in Thailand. And that makes me hesitate to say that Thailand have more than other.
But for sure I see ladyboy everywhere in the county.
Bangkok? Oh yeah! Chiang Mai? Why not! And even in the small cities of north-east side or north part of the country. Especially at night spots in Bangkok, I see them within a stone throw.
(Don’t throw stone to them, otherwise the weapon called “high heel” might hit your forehead.)
Many travelers describe that there are many ladyboy in Thailand and there are many posts saying that on the internet. Everyone must get impression “Wow!What’s going on here!” So then, not many people must disagree with that point, I think.
On the assumption that “Lady boy within a stone throw”, I want to summarize the theory describing the reason why many ladyboy existing, widespread on the internet by mainly Japanese travelers and residents there. Some are the opinions from different angles but some seem to be very linked. Please comment if you have your own and new idea.
1. Mother is stronger than father in Thailand family. So children tend to grow up looking at mother’s back. As a result, boys hold a longing to women and it likely to push them to become lady boys.
2. In rural poor families, it may be that boys are brought up “girly” intentionally because women could earn better than man by working at night spots.
3. They become ladyboys to avoid military conscription.
4. The development of gender transformation techniques has spurred the ladyboy increase. (Chicken or the egg)
5. Thailand is a Buddhist country, and most of the people are tolerant to “man in the middle” of a man and a woman, so they can live proudly in the environment.
6.”Mai-pen-rai” (This is a most famous expression to describe the character and the personality of Thai people, which means “never mind, it’s okay, easy going, relaxing) and that makes good national and social atmosphere, and they can live without having to hide.
I wonder how much trustworthy analysis these are and anyway it’s clear that multiple elements are overlapping and stratify and linked each other, also that make it possible for the nation to have ladyboy friendly social climate, I think.What do you think?
What is perhaps noteworthy could be hiding behind elements above, but there is no reason for me to know. I’m not a professional ladyboy analyzer.
The world’s first Ladyboy CA
The famous Japanese beautiful new-half (transsexual women), Ai Haruna says “In Japan, transsexual person is thought as character even now and is often modest. In widely accepted Thailand, people are more active in the society. It’s nice to have this victory in such a country” (Asahi Newspaper November 1, 2009)
It’s a sentence that she left when she won the Miss International Queen 2009. Because she feels so, it’s no doubt that Thailand is more open country to transsexuals than Japan. Personally, I don’t think Japan is very closed country to new-half people. Even though the law system might be inadequate but the people seem to be quite tolerated to them.
How about in your country?
In 2011, four “ladyboy CA” was adopted in the domestic line of Thai airline PC Air.
That was the first case of ladyboy CA employment in the world. The air line industry is ordinary said “closed world” to the third sex as even resume never pass through.
Therefore, it is a new attempt for “an equal employment opportunity” and could be glimpse of “entrepreneurial strategy aimed at propaganda effect.”
In any case, this is very unique matter and seems that it’s what only Thailand can do, I think.
One of the 4 ladyboy CAs, Thanyarat Chirapatpakorn’s (23) is the winner of Miss Tiffany Universe of 2007, and she plays as famous opera actress, too. She received the adoption and answered to the interview of Bangkok post, “My dream came true. I want to work hard in order to prove my professionalism.”
They are the first lady boy cabin attendants who are good looking and brilliant, selected from more than 100 applicants.Pic from Bangkok post
First Ladyboy Prefecture conference member in Thailand
In 2012, in Nan province in the northern Thailand, the first time prefectural assembly member of ladyboy was selected. Her name is Yondara and was 28 year-old when she had elected. She is transsexual and is also a Thai transsexual Women’s Association president.
She runs a jewelry business, besides enrolls in sociology doctoral at Thailand National Ramkhamhaeng University.
Still legal challenges remain in Thai society. For example, the low remains of man even if after change of sex, for gay marriage is not recognized so “Common-law marriage” happens often.
Also it’s concerned that whether CA adoption of ladyboy is subsequently performed. Unless the employment widely spreads, it can’t be said that CA is a really “open industry” for lady boys.
Since it’s an international profession, the job opportunity of employment wouldn’t go spread without global understanding to them, not only that of Thai society. It will take time with some aspects can be an obstacle such as religious differences.
Cosmetics-related service and service industry are quite open to ladyboy, and also a wide range of industries are becoming more open to them. On the other hand, there are still some half-hearted companies to employ them.
It could depend on field and the thought of employers, I think.
The senior officer of the above-mentioned PC airline says, “Have you ever seen a ladyboy staff at the fronts of the 5 star hotels?” He continues, “Cosmetics industry is anyway, not always they have been welcomed in other service sectors.”
I wonder if there are enough “stage” for ladyboys. pic by John Shedrick
Street Ladyboy and Trouble
Might be lack of job opportunity or be economic reasons, not a few ladyboys live in the night world. Some are shining show dancers on an ornate stage, some are earning as prostitution on street corner or as go-go girl at bars.
The situation might be linked to mixed elements of poverty, tourism nation, the development of the sex industry. With the background of the elements, the figure of ladyboy in sex industry is intensely colorful to my eyes.
The industry is open for travelers and the scene of street where ladyboy taking customers even at daylight hours is flashy and fierce and unique.
August 2014, there was an incident that a barker of ladyboy injured an American guy in on the street of Pattaya. The guy passed in front of her bar and refused the invitation, then had a ” high heel attack” from the lady boy and injured 15 stitches to his face.
There are a lot of street prostitution on the Pattaya Beach Road, and some are so persistent. It is illegal act but the penalty is cheap so not efficient to stop persistent invitation.
I have no idea about how the ladyboy invited the man, but it is said by some articles that his “bad attitude” to her was a trigger. Trouble between ladyboy and tourist has frequently happened and this incident is also one of them.
Japanese a.k.a good payers ?
I have been to a ladyboy go-go-bar in Bangkok. They are not my type (unfortunately) but I was just pulled in by some ladyboys when I passed through the front of the bar. (I admit that I was strolling around that kind of area, why not).
Loud music was going on and there were some dancers on the stage, but not moving well because only one western couple and I were inside. It was still bit early time.
When I arrived at seat with light heart that I would leave soon after one glass of whisky, a lady boy sat down next to me. Suddenly she started to wipe the sweat of my forehead very kindly, though, I didn’t ask her to do.
I appreciated for the kindness anyway, and I actually felt good for the service, but soon realized it wasn’t “kindness.”
She held out her hand and said “give me 100 baht tip” with not really sweet voice. She started to beg 100 baht for the unsolicited easy service!
Just to tell you that you can stay one night at cheap hotel with 130 baht in Bangkok. And I already bought 150 baht small glass of coke for her that she didn’t even touch (I wanted to drink that if she didn’t need. Mottainai!=Waistful!).
In addition, in my mind I was going to wait for my forehead to get dry “naturally.” Don’t you think forehead sweat makes men look bit cooler and bit wild? Is this my assumption?
Anyway, I was not in a hurry at all for the sweat on my forehead.
I have to conclude that unfortunately nothing made me motivated to open my wallet to pick up pink Thailand’s respective king printed lettuce.
I’m not well off at all and worked hard to make the trip fee in Japan. How come such a 100 precious baht goes to the wiping fee? No way.
I admit that her wiping work was such a creative way to earn money and I have to learn by her stance that we always have to create our job to survive. But that was not really big demanded one then and it was too good job that workers could come first and furious.
(If the job works out, why not, I stop writing and aim to become professional forehead sweat wiper.)
Well, many Japanese travelers might pay even such unreasonable money because they think refusing makes someone feel uncomfortable. They care about that a lot and try to avoid conflict. So it is quite tough action for them to refuse things and straight say “NO!” to someone. We hesitate to say the word.
Workers there must know about such our habit so they target us as a good payer. Whether it’s good or not, most of us are good customers for them in that meaning, but I was not.
Well, thankfully, she started to discount the tip.
“How about 60 baht!?”
That reminds me that what I do to Tuk-Tuk drivers. I now bit understand of their feeling.
On the other hand, I continued to refuse her whole request.
with bit shake my head in steady and sometime said in Thai,
“Mai chai…” (means “NO”)
with serious mask.
She heart up and her face becoming look angry (like I don’t do to tuk-tuk driver).
It was tough for me to keep my face serious and pretended to be bit angry because I didn’t hate her at all even though the request and the discount made me surprise and gave me a precious learn for business, but just didn’t want to pay such a tip.
Ah,,,Japanese people tend to smile even when it is not the situation they should smile. So we used to be called “inscrutable Japanese” especially in the U.S in the past. But I didn’t smile at all then so still I must have been an inscrutable Japanese in a sense.
I guess her mind was saying:
(Shoot! Why this Japanese guy doesn’t pay tips to me? Is he really Japanese? I want to check his passport, though)
Finally, she gave me mouthful in Thai (I don’t know how bad she said to me) and fired and stood up and disappeared in the back without checking my passport.
I got really surprised with her pretty rude attitude to her customer and felt I was a man who let his girlfriend angry and leave. (I don’t have girlfriend now but I want)
Then I bit laughed at everything happened in front of me because it was too unusual experience for me. It’s funny, isn’t it? Probably, a lot of man have similar experience in Thailand, I guess.
I gave an eye a middle aged female clerk’s face who was looking all the details, and bit laughed each other for the funny situation. I left the bar soon after drinking the glass of whisk and I walked around the area.
(I went to the bathroom before I left the bar and was requested another tip from a standing clerk with towel. I rejected it with courtesy.
To be honest, I was a little scared when that ladyboy stood up because I thought she was hitting me. FYI, “High heel attack” is the one we have to be careful the most.
Thai people, who it is said having high pride (Japanese famous guidebook say so), request me proper respond to them. My attitude once made a Thai woman mad and that was precious experience that made me aware that some differences from Japanese women are clearly, definitely exist.
Especially ladyboy, they seem to conceal ferociousness about their person for original “boy’s” essence. Even they seem to be blended into the Thai society they sensitively catch the sense of contempt and prejudice, and might have darkness in the back of their mind. Cold attitude and lacking delicacy words can be a flash point of fury.
Well, it’s helpless anymore if they go mud just because they are refused for unreasonable wiping tips, though.
How to identify Ladyboy
Well, having collected the characteristics of the well said “how to identify ladyboy”, if you are required to identify them, please be used as reference. It’s good to add “the ability” on your resume if you think it has too much space.
Lack of elegance in walking compared to the general Thai women.
Adam’s apple is out.
Talk in a soft way compared general to Thai women.
Sexy and stimulating clothing compared to Thai women.
Vessel is on hand. Also, when they talk, tend to be expressed using the hand.
Straight hair and long in many cases.
I think you will be able to identify unless she is a “perfect beauty ladyboy”. You can figure out them quit easily.
But I heard that for example for Western men, Asian ladyboy is much harder for them to identify because they are more feminine and delicate but we Japanese are a little more easily can do that.
However, because still we have many stories such as “I did not notice it until I see the naked in bed” or “I run away”, it could also be a worst-case scenario if you are drunk and bewitching sex appeal.
I sew a Japanese man who was madly in love to ladyboy who he believes “lady”, and he didn’t trust me even if I gave him my opinion that she is ladyboy. That’s the reality.
Well, unknown world might be opened from the “worst-case scenario”, and you may also be encountered in a new joy. Unexpected experience could make your life more fun.
If you feel the anxiety to a lady who you fall in live in Thailand and has to figure out the truse, why don’t you invite her to Lady Boy NG cafe located in around Bangkok. Bangkok has such cafe a lot and said that most lady boy is so reluctant to visiting.
Though, it would not work well to looks confidential ladyboy.
“Third Toilet” and Ladyboy University
Ladyboys are often proudly use female toilet. However, I guess not few people seriously think “should I go to men’s or women’s?” at the beginning.
It is common in all countries “the bullying smell” in school toilet. When if ladyboy comes in men’s toilet and then naughty boys could give a hard and bully them.
I remember in the elementary school second grade, there were looks of elder boys above when I emptied my bowels in a toilet, and they spread around the classes as if I committed a sin. I had an uncomfortable time for a while after the mini crime.
(I think having a dump in school is one of the most hesitating, risky and challenging action in early elementary school grade. Only in Japan?)
If I were lady boy shitting in a men’s toilet, then the harassment and humiliation of that could have been doubled or tripled. I take a hint from my experience how much it is serious ambivalence for them to choose just toilet. Please be a nice consultant if you see them standing and jigging in the middle front of the toilets.
Now, more schools have newly installed toilet for unisex such as Kampang high school in Bangkok. Also, “third of the toilet” has been established in Lanna poly technological college in Chiang Mai in the northern Thailand. It’s to solve the problem of the bullying ladyboy happening on a daily basis.
If you look at the macro point of view, Thai society seems to be very tolerant to third sex, but on the details, not a few discriminatory gaze and language and behavior to them. Ladyboy may be not free to have relaxing time in toilet.
Suan Dusit Rajabaht University in Bangkok is the open one for lady boy. Here, they wear Thai style distinctive tight school uniform and have “be myself” campus life.
Indeed, I want to loud out “this is tolerant country Thailand!”, but on the other hand, the existence of such university might show that they feel timed in the education scene.
She answered to the interviewer “I like an educated man with no drink and no smoke.” Well, I won’t be a proper one for her.
A ladyboy returned to the man by “priesthood”
There is a case that a lady boy returned to man before “sex change” through the Buddhist priesthood that it is said Thai man goes to at least one time in life. An article from Bangkok Post of May 4, 2014 told and I roughly summarized it.
Namnou (23) in Phetchaburi Province has been living in consciousness as a woman until priesthood from the age of seven. Started makeup in puberty and by the end of high school, he used “cah” instead of “crap”. ※ “cah” is ending word that women use in Thailand.
Increased transsexual friend of him and he worked in bars and restaurants as cabaret performer. Then he enrolled to a university in Bangkok and got inspired by the big city and tried hormone injections and various treatments to groom female.
During this time, his mother was economical supporter, but the relationship with his father had been lost since he became ladyboy. In the university, he was cheerleader in the university and listed in the FACEBOOK page of the University’s “cute Gay & Lady Boy.” His junior fellows called him “sister”.
However, it decided to enter priesthood in the recommendation of parents. He planned to restart ladyboy life as soon as he finishes two weeks of priesthood. He was thinking even to devote obtained money in ritual to cost breast augmentation surgery. In any case, he decided to enter priesthood from idea that it is good thing to do.
He stopped the administration of hormone injection and avoided to contact with his friends and also housed woman clothes. 2 days prior to the priesthood, he finally got off his hair which could be the most important thing for woman. Then, manhood began to grow, increasing number of beard and body hair and he started to be conscious that he was a man for the first time in his life.
The priesthood was the end and he can’t forget the happy faces of his parents when they looked at his appearance changed totally. He strongly hoped their happiness. Especially his father got joy and was anxiety to keep the son man figure with the acceptance that the son is still gay.
Then, he, Numnow decided to live in the sight of man for his father. There were blaming and roaring to the story through the social media but they changed to unawares tribute and understanding, he now is happy to his way of life.
He became free from the sense of urgency and expense to the beauty and was released from the public gaze. But he still feels the charm to as an opposite sex is “male”. Of course, continuing to get along with friends of gay and lady boy.
The most significant event for him would be the improved relationship with his father. Although since he became ladyboy until the end of the priesthood had done, he had never felt love from his father, by now they go for lunch together and it is the first time for him to feel strongly the presence of “his father” in his life.
Well, his looks returned to man, but he is still gay, which is totally fine for me. In addition, according to the story, “relationship with the father” is strongly affected to his decision to get out of ladyboy life.
His strong emotion that he wanted to be admitted and loved by his father has changed his figure beyond the longing to lady boy. Of course, it also would be effected for the change that he discontinued administration of female hormones.
Son’s hunger to love from father and conflict of father who can’t accept ladyboy son. As I diligently know this kind of case, I begin to think that stories surrounding the sex change are not so simple.
There is an apprenticeship program that guides the ladyboys to men. It is quite interesting for me that Buddhist priesthood works for an opportunity for ladyboy to take back maleness.
With the widespread view to the world, wondering the barrier to sexual minority is the achievement of understanding of people who value religions and traditions that do not accept them.
Anyway, no doubt that Thailand is fairly open country for ladyboys and that is one of the many interesting topics of the country for me.