It is one of visible peculiarities of the Thailand, them are numerous (let us give them the feminine, they make enough efforts for it). Ladyboys is present in all the South-East Asia, but are particularly numerous in Thailand, we evoke as explanation the Buddhism which is a very tolerant religion and which does not discriminate, or little, (because there is all the same de facto a form of discrimination) the homosexuality and the transgender. They are called Kathoey in Thailand, the term is slightly pejorative, without being contemptuous, what does that most prefer the name of ladyboy. It is said that ladyboys would represent 2 % of the population, which would make more than a million transsexuals in Thailand. Ladyboys feels totally women in their body and in their head and do not consider de facto as being homosexual, even if their sexual orientation pushes them well on towards the men. They are moreover not considered in Thailand homosexuals.
Thailand, contrary to other Asian countries has not suffer under colonization and presence of western powers, and thus does not have only little, or at all followed the rules of life dictated by the morality of these societies, or the Christian religion, what does that prohibitions bound to the homosexuality were not current in this country. Tolerance and respect for the differences were perfectly integrated also thanks to the Buddhism. In families things take place generally (what does not mean yet) rather well, the opposed to the transformation being good on the father who can have difficulty in accepting the change, and in considering that he loses a son.
The result is there that ladyboys are integrated generally well into the Thai society, they occupy first and foremost jobs rather booked for the women and they are often found in jobs as the hairstyle, the esthetics, manicurist, beauty, mode … in waitresses’ posts in bars and restaurants, in the reception in hotels and resorts and in businesses as sellers. Others are hired in the administration, and in the education. Certain airline companies also employ them as stewardesses. Some ladyboys also practice Muay Thai or Thai boxing and fight in professionals. Thus the market of the employment is rather vast for them.
Thus contrary to a sometimes conveyed idea, they do not work quite, far from it, in the prostitution and Sucker Bars, Pattaya being the most notorious example of an unbridled prostitution. The prostitution of ladyboys of course exists, and it is necessarily the face most clairvoyant of this community, what only by the way would be she gets dressed, let us say … hyper sexy. On the other hand many of them occur in cabarets transgender which have in Thailand a lot of success and are very popular among foreigners. Certain famous cabarets in Bangkok and Phuket offer luxurious shows sometimes deserving of Parisian nights.
Well on ladyboys are numerous in Thailand, because very also comes from bordering or nearby countries or transgenders are less well accepted, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore … These countries, which knew colonization or foreign presence, and thus integrated certain prohibitions of the western company, punish for some the homosexuality and the transgender, urge ladyboys to exile themselves and to find asylum in Thailand. In Thailand, ladyboys does not have to hide, and even if sometimes some Thai have fun with it, nobody will make for them reflection or unfriendly words, even insults, what can be the case in west. Thai are raised in the Buddhist tradition or the respect for other one, the right to the difference are important. They know generally how to command respect and let us not forget that in spite of their femininity they remain men, and certain tourists being lacking respect were in trouble with some of them, and remember it can be still.
To speak about their appearance, some are very beautiful and compete easily with beautiful Thais (girls or women). The sometimes feminine lines of the Thai, the big almond eyes and the pulpy lips stress their quoted androgyny and do that the transformation can be really spectacular, and more of one made a mistake there, so much it is sometimes difficult otherwise impossible to distinguish a ladyboy of the real lady. All the stratagems are good to look always more feminine, the silicone to redo the nose, the chin or the breasts is regularly used, hormones also which modify the appearance of the body, the voice and the pilosity are usually used. The good make-up on is rigorous, but can be excessively sometimes used. Beauty queen’s competition trans. of Tiffany’s Universe is famous in all the kingdom, and beyond, and is dedicatedly followed. Ladyboys participating in this competition is extremely beautiful and compete in elegance and in class. Well on the happy elected representative reach the celebrity and has an easier life.
An expression, not very courteous for the representatives of the low said sex, says that when we see a very beautiful girl in Thaîlande, it is necessarily a ladyboy … The false good on the Thais being exactly recognized for their beauty. What is true it is that ladyboys sometimes tends to get dressed in a very sexy way. Also, well on, the behavior and the look will be forcing different if a ladyboy works as desk clerk or if she is a gogo girl.
To conclude, even if ladyboys is much better accepted than in most of the countries, their life is not still facilitated by the administration, de facto the third sex does not exist officially in Thailand, they do not thus have the right to change registry civil status after an operation and when they go to prison it is in prisons for men … But discussions would be in progress at the level of the state to modify the legislation.