Thailand ladyboy – Facts You Never Know about Ladyboy Culture in Thailand

Thailand ladyboy – Facts You Never Know about Ladyboy Culture in Thailand

When looking for an exotic vacation, one of the countries that come to mind most
often is Thailand. This Asian country has a lot to offer its guests: its abundance of
magnificent temples with gigantic statues of the Buddha, the natural resources
available for everyone to explore, its jaw-dropping beaches, famous cuisine and
street food, and its reputation as a shopping haven for bargain lovers, among so
many others.
But just like any other country, Thailand also has a side that others might consider
seedy. Researching or reading about the country, there’s a huge chance you might
encounter the word “kathoey”, which they use to refer to transgenders, better
known as “ladyboys”. Thailand’s ladyboys are famous all over the world and many
travelers go to Thailand specifically to meet them.
Ladyboys have been around in Thailand for a long time and it’s quite a bit
surprising that they continue to be so prevalent, despite the negative stigma
associated with them. In fact, they are considered part of Thai culture. There are so
many reasons why ladyboys continue to thrive, and here are some of them:

Ladyboy, Transgender person, or the third gender – They are called kathoey in Thailand

Thai Lady-boy
The term transgender is rarely used in Thailand. Instead, the common term is,
Kathoey which was once used to define intersex people, human beings who were
born with ambiguous genitalia.
Kathoey has become entirely common in Thai society, like everyone else, they go
about their daily affairs: shopping, meeting with friends, using public transport,
and visiting the temple.
Ladyboy, transgender, or the third gender is rarely used in Thailand.

Large ladyboy population in Thailand

Thai Ladyboy
PHOTO: bemytravelmuse

Thailand beholds the highest rate of Transsexuals throughout the world. According
to Sam Winter, the numbers differ from about 10,000 to (unofficial) 300,000.
substantially above that estimated for transgender in most other parts of the world.
Thai community creates a sound public opinion environment for those of a
different sexual orientation. They can enjoy their freedom of expressing

Thai Buddhism helps to understand transsexuals in Thailand

PHOTO: huffpost

First Buddhist scriptures also mention 3 genders: a man, a woman, and a kathoey.
So, religion officially allows for the third gender to exist. Buddhist teachings also hold that the circumstances we live in today are the product of the ways in which we lived our previous lives.
Another concept behind kathoey is the result of karma – in particular,
one was born kathoey because of some sexual misdemeanor in an earlier life or lives or that they
failed to fulfill an expected role in the reproductive process, such as a man not caring for a woman who is pregnant by him.
Whatever the reason, it is important to note that the common belief says there is no
escaping from the karmic consequences, everyone has been kathoey at once in
previous lives and will be again in future ones, thus kathoey should be treated with

Big cities have wider acceptance

Thailand ladyboy - Facts You Never Know about Ladyboy Culture in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: huffpost

Kathoey acceptance in society depends on the area in which they live. In the bigger cities, it is more normalized to be kathoey.
In more rural villages, the treatment of kathoey is described as tolerance than acceptance.

Miss Tiffany& Universe

แจ่มเจิดสุด โยชิ คว้าที่ 1 มิสทิฟฟานี่ยูเวิร์ส 2017
PHOTO: thairath

Miss Tiffany Universe is a beauty pageant for Thai transgender women in Pattaya, Thailand.
The contest is open to all transgender women who may or may not have gone through sex reassignment surgery.
Miss Tiffany’s Universe contest held once a year is receiving more attention
especially since it is broadcast live on Thai television with an average of 15 million
viewers. The Miss Tiffany Universe winner receives a trophy and crown, Honda Jazz, cash prizes, jewelry, and other gifts from sponsors.

Lady Gaga gained her inspiration from Cabaret shows – Drug show in Thailand

Thailand ladyboy - Facts You Never Know about Ladyboy Culture in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: rappler

Cabaret shows are popular and widespread in Thai culture. The Calypso in Bangkok is said to be where Lady Gaga gained a lot of her inspiration,
and the Tiffany show has been compared to the Miss Universe of kathoey culture.
These cabaret shows include elaborate song and dance routines with elegant costuming.
One might be tempted to compare these shows to the drag shows in the US,
but in these shows, the performers are not just taking on a female persona; many of them identify as women.

They work as normal Thai people Thailand ladyboy

Thailand ladyboy - Facts You Never Know about Ladyboy Culture in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: traveller

The lifestyle of the kathoey varies as well. Mostly though, the kathoey lives like other Thai people.
They work as hairdressers, filmmakers, sex workers, waitresses, models, and other jobs that you would find any woman.
They have romantic relationships and are allowed to marry. Kathoey, like other trans people, is just that. People.

Easy to see beautiful kathoey in public media

10 กะเทยสวย ที่เป็นกระแสในอินเตอร์เน็ตปี 2015
Kathoeys are more visible and more accepted in Thai culture than transsexuals are in other countries in the world.
Several popular Thai models, singers, and movie stars are kathoeys, and Thai newspapers often print photographs of the winners of female and kathoey beauty contests side by side.
The phenomenon is not restricted to urban areas; there are kathoeys in most villages, and kathoey beauty contests are commonly held as part of local fairs.

Varies feminizing surgeries to choose from

เกือบแยกไม่ออก เมื่อสาวสอง ลงทุนทุบหน้า จนเหมือน ญาญ่า อุรัสยา
Kathoey has easy access to hormones and surgery. Local chain drug stores can carry as many as 23 hormonal preparations, all available (without a doctor note) over the shop counter.
Many dresses as women and undergo a wide range of feminizing medical procedures such as breast implants, hormones, silicone injections, or Adam apple reductions.
That why a Kathoey is hard to distinguish.

Developmental pathways for those who want to be a kathoey Thailand ladyboy

น้องบอมเบย์ กะเทยวัยใส สวยไร้ศัลยกรรม
Once a young boy has become discontented about his gender identity, he finds that modern Thai society opens him a clear developmental path.
On one hand media personalities – TG actresses, singers, models, and beauty queens – provide role models to aim for.
Nearer at hand, an older peer or often a fellow student may provide first social contact with a kathoey.
These older role models can provide the young kathoey with important information; initially regarding hormones, clothes, make-up, beauty contests, etc,
and perhaps later extending to information about employment and surgery.

Kathoey career Thailand ladyboy

A private glimpse at the life of a Phuket ladyboy dancer
PHOTO: thephuketnews

A word here about economics. A nose operation can cost around US$240. Sex reassignment surgery can cost around US$950.
To save even that money one needs a job while salaries are low in Thailand.
The costs of surgery, therefore, act to draw kathoey to the cabarets and bars for work.
The cabarets are often unobjectionable spectacles of dance, music, and costume for tourists.
While the salaries are small much more might be earned from tips given by tourists taking photos.
The bars, on the other hand, provide a vehicle for prostitution.
Both provide a way of earning the kind of money that make surgery possible.
Also, with hope of meeting a Westerner who might take her to his country, where, apart from anything
else, she might be able to achieve legal status as a female and marry. That the ‘kathoey career’ for most Kathoey.

Beautiful soldiers Thailand ladyboy

รวมสาวประเภทสองเกณฑ์ทหาร 2561 งานนี้มีแต่คนสวยเนียน!
Like many countries, Thailand’s military has conscription by way of a lottery. On
draft day, all men over 21 – even those who no longer consider themselves to be
male – are required to attend the conscription lottery once. In practice, kathoey
ladyboys are almost always exempted from military service – but they are still
required to attend the lottery.

Thai law forbids people from changing their gender on national identification
documents, so all trans women remain officially recognized as male. These annual
scenes of beautifully dressed women sitting among crowds of more conventionally
male-looking recruits draw many eyes.
But the big question here, especially for those of you who are visiting Thailand for
the first time and whatnot is probably how to spot a ladyboy on your travels. Here
are some top tips for spotting a Thai ladyboy:

– Too Tall – most women in Thailand are petite and short. However, there is an exception to that rule, but if they are too tall, then definitely be suspicious.
– Very feminine – ladyboys love to wear makeup and pay a lot of attention to their clothing and sexy dresses.
– Broad shoulders.
– No bra – it’s very uncommon for women in Thailand to go braless!
– Adam’s apple, although this can also be operated on nowadays.
– The unfeminine tone of voice.

These are generic tips, but a good beginner guide for those of you who don’t
really know what to look for. Also, at the end of the day, you can always
straight up ask them, usually, they are very open about it and are not offended if
you ask.

I hope these points mentioned in this video demonstrate how an outsider’s point
of view is vastly different from that of the locals when ladyboys are involved.
Many have this idea that ladyboys are merely sex workers and have a negative
stereotype and while the former may be true, the latter is far from reality.
Ladyboys are no different from any other person; they just choose to live their
lives the way they see fit by openly defying gender stereotypes. Fortunately for
them, Thailand is accepting of them.

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