Gay Thai Ladyboys - a brief history of Thai ladyboy culture and identity
n Informal a transvestite or transsexual, esp one from the Far East
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Katoey (the Thai word for 'ladyboy' or lady boy ) is a Thai term that describes a gay transgender person or perhaps an effeminate gay male in Thailand. While a substantial quantity of Thais see gay ladyboys as being a totally seperate gender, including many gay Thai ladyboys themselves, there are regarded as a distinct third gender or sex which is neither really male or female. The Thai term 'kathoey' is regarded as being of Khmer origin (which is modern day Cambodia). The term is most frequently spoken as 'ladyboy' in British conversation with Thais and this expression is becoming popular in spoken conversation right across East Asia.
Summary of Thai Ladyboys
The word to describe a gay thai ladyboy isn't dissimilar from the modern concept
of a Western transsexual lady. Utilisation of the term 'thai ladyboy 'indicates
the person self-identifies as a kind of male who is basically gay in sexual orientation , and can be regarded as a "lady of
the second kind". Ladyboys are now a key part of the gay asian identity and have been reported to make up a large proportion of the gay Thai community. It has been reported that in a population of approximately 66 million , Thailand has up to 500,000 ladyboys which is the highest proportion of any country in the world. In fact as a result of or because of the demand - Thailand also boasts some of the most proficient and busy gender-reassignment surgeons in the world.
Some western scholars of gender identities consider that the term thai ladyboy was utilized in historic times to refer to intersexuals, gay men who identify both in terms of dress and style as ladies and hence are 'ladyboys' . The usage of the term ladyboy has been transformed from the middle of the 20th century to also cover any gay cross-dressing males. The word ladyboy can make reference to gay males who exhibit different levels of womanliness - many gay thai ladyboys dress as ladies and undergo "feminising" medical methods for example breast enlargements, injections of female hormones, silicone injections in various parts of their body such as breasts, buttocks , chest or face, or have surgery on their Adam's apple to make it look more feminine. Other gay Thai ladyboys may put on makeup and employ feminine pronouns (such as using the polite female particle ' ka' at the end of a sentence when speaking Thai rather than the male equivalent 'khrap'), but dress as males, and therefore are nearer in the Western mind to being an effeminate gay guy than a transgender female.
The word thai ladyboy might be considered pejorative as well as in the word in thai 'Kathoey' might be seen as offensive term. Gay gender politics has made significant strides in the 21st century and acceptance and acknowledgment of a wide variety of gay lifestyles and gay marriage our now the norm in advanced western societies.
Gay Thai Ladyboys Professions
Gay Thai ladyboys operate in what are commonly regarded as mainly female jobs, such as with shops, restaurants and salons and massage parlours , but additionally in industrial facilities (an expression of Thailand's high proportion of female industrial employees). Gay Thai ladyboys often work in entertainment and tourist centres, in gay ladyboy cabarets and also sometimes more controversially in areas of the adult sex industry.
Gay Thai ladyboys tend to be more visible and much more recognized in Thai culture than transgender or transsexual individuals are in Western nations or other Asian nations. Several popular gay Thai models, performers and celebrities are in fact gay ladyboys, and Thai newspapers frequently print photos from the those who win of female and ladyboy beauty contests alongside each other. This isn't just limited to the major Thai cities - you will find gay Thai ladyboys in many towns, and ladyboy beauty contests are generally held and included in many local and regional Thai festivals right across the country.
While using the Thai Buddhist perception of 'Karma' , some Thais think that being a gay ladyboy is caused by transgressions in past lives,and thus sadly concluding that the gay ladyboy deserves societal and personal pity instead of blame.
A typical gay Thai ladyboy stereotype is that of an older
well-off Thai ladyboy providing financial support to teenagers with whom they have a personal relationship. That said any visit to Thailand will see the visitor seeing many gay males in many walks of life and gay Thai ladyboys being an essential part of the fabric of Thai society. Most make-up counters in the big department stores such as Central or Robinsons in Bangkok or other Thai cities will sport perfectly coiffeured and made-up gay thai ladyboys advising mostly females on make up advice and recommendations as which is the best makeup to buy. Being interested in and enthusiastic about their hair gay Thai ladyboys also are well represented in the hairdressing sector as stylists, hair washers and even salon owners.
Sadly tough the term ladyboy and in particular reference to Thailand has become a term of at best curiosity and worse a term of derision often used against straight males who maybe covertly scared or uncertain about their sexuality. In the following video whihc doesn't feature gay Thai ladyboys but concentrates on the perception and identity of western gay transgender people. They focus on the word 'Thai ladyboy' is appropriate when referring to actual gay Thai ladyboys but can be seen as a term of abuse when being used to referrred to other transgender or transexual people from other cultures.
Social and Legal Implications for Gay Thai Ladyboys in Thailand
Gay Thai ladyboys presently face many social and legal road
blocks. Families (and particularly their dads) are usually disappointed if their Thai
boy turns into
In 1993, Thailand's teacher training schools had implemented a semi-formal prohibition on permitting homosexual (which incorporated gay ladyboys ) students signing up for courses resulting in qualification for positions in kindergartens and primary schools. In 1997, the Raja Hat Institutes (the regulating body for Thailand's schools) formalized this prohibition on employing gay Thai ladyboys, which may extend to any or all grounds at the beginning of the 1997 academic year. The prohibition on Thai ladyboys was silently rescinded later for that reason later that year
In 1996, a volleyball team composed mostly of gays and gay Thailadyboys , referred to as Iron Ladies later described in 2 Thai movies, won theThai national title. The Thai government, worried about the nation's image, barred two gay ladyboys from joining the nation's team and competing around the world.
One of the most famous gay Thai ladyboys in Thailand is Nong Tum, an old champion Thai boxer who emerged from obscurity into the public eye back in 1998. He had been mix-dressing and taking female hormones for quite a while , whilst still a well known boxer he'd go into the ring with lengthy hair and female makeup, and from time to time controversially kissing a defeated opponent. His retirement from professional Thai boxing came in 1999 - and then going through a considerable amount of genital reassignment surgery, whilst still being a Thai boxing coach, and trying out acting and modelling. She came back to boxing in 2006.
In 2004, the Chiang Mai Technology School allotted a seperate bathroom for gay thai ladyboys , by having an connected men and women symbol around the door. The fifteen gay Thai ladyboy students must have on male clothing in school but they are permitted to sport feminine hair styling. The gay ladyboy bathroom features four stalls, but no urinals.
Following a 2006 Thai coup , gay thai ladyboys began a public campaign for a new third sex to be included on official Thai documents. Back in 2007, legislation was passed in Thailand to promote efforts to allow gay Thai ladyboys to alter their legal sex should they have gone through genital reassignment surgery.
Bell Nuntita, a gay Thai ladyboy singing contestant of Thailand's Got Talent Television shows, grew to become a YouTube hit when she first carried out singing like a girl, and also the crowd became amazed when she suddenly switched her feminine high-pitched tone to someone with a much deeper masculine voice.
Common misperceptions and sterotypes of Thai Ladyboys
Thai Ladyboy Culture
The very first all gay Thai ladyboy group in Thailand was created in 2006. It's named Venus Flytrap and was selected and marketed by Sony's record label BMG Music.
The LadyBoys of Bangkok is really a gay Thai ladyboy revue that's been performing in the United kingdom since 1998 touring the nation.
Thai Ladyboys in Film
Ladyboys is really a 1992 documentary film designed for Funnel 4 TV and directed by Jeremy Marre. It relates the storyline of two teenage gay Thai ladyboys who get ready for and enter a rural beauty contest by leaving for Pattaya to locate and then star in a sexy and glitzy cabaret Thai ladyboy showgirl revue.
The storyline from the 1996 Iron Ladies volleyball team underlies the humorous and effective 2000 movie The Iron Ladies - this smash hit in Thailand was followed up in 2003 with The Iron Ladies 2.
The 2002 Thai film Saving Private Tootsie informs the storyline of several gay men and gay Thai ladyboys who have to be saved following a plane crash in rebel-held jungle territory. The film explores anti-gay attitudes in a variety of ways. It's loosely based on a real-life accident in December 1998 when a group together with a popular singer and the Thai ladyboy makeup artist were involved in an airplane crash.
The existence of the Thai ladyboy fighter Nong Tum is expounded within the 2003 movie Beautiful Boxer. Unlike The Iron Ladies 1 & 2, Beautiful Boxer was a more serious movie eschewing the humorous and light-hearted approach of the Iron Ladies series.
The 2005 Thai fighting techniques film The Warrior King features a primary villain who is really a Thai ladyboy, although references for this were edited out for the American release.
The ultimate traveller show Madventures were built with a section on gay Thai ladyboys during the third season.
So as you can see gay ladyboys are an accepted part of Thai culture and whilst neither masculine or feminine they occupy a third sex which is just simple to describe that of ... lady boy.
Gay Thai ladyboys are the subject of intense interest worldwide so it was natural that eventually a major TV station would want to document the lives and challenges that gay Thai ladyboys face. Sky 1 recently featured their award winning series Thai Ladyboys which followed the lives of several gay Thai ladyboys from various walks of Thai society and life. In fact so popular was the first series of Thai Ladyboys that Sky commissioned a second series Thai Ladyboys 2 which continues to tell the story of what makes up nearly 1% of Thailand's population. Here's a short clip from Sky's Thai Ladyboys. Thai ladyboys also featured in Sky Tv's Idiot Abroad starring the redoubtable Karl Pilkington who tries out the Thai ladyboy experience for himself and lives to tell the tale !
More about the ladyboy culture in the Phillipines
Ladyboys and transgender females are prevalent throughout Asia and second only to Thailand in numbers is the huge developing nation of the Phillipipines which we have detailed in our article the world of the gay asian Filipino ladyboy culture.
Top 10 tips for getting a great gay massage
As a gay man you may well be interested in our great top 10 top tips to getting a great gay massage.
Why do some straight men like to date Thai ladyboys ?
Another topic that is seeming of great interest is why so many seemingly straight men like to date gay Thai ladyboys and if they do are they in fact actually straight. At London Thai Massage as part of out in-depth collation of all things to do with Thai ladyboys we examine this subject - why do straight males like to date gay Thai ladyboys.
It is only right and proper that the world's largest gay ladyboy population (estimated to number up to half a million Thai ladyboys) should give rise to the world's largest ladyboy beauty pageant. Take a look at Miss Tiffany World and their glamorous role call of some of the world's most beautiful ladyboys.
How to identify a Thai ladyboy ?
So that's probably enough Thai ladyboy information for even the most ardent Thai ladyboy lover - but if you really want to know how to spot a Thai ladyboy we've compiled a simple guide to let you know the tell-tale signs to look out for that make a Thai ladyboy stand out from biologically born Thai females.
Why does Thailand have so many ladyboys ?
And whilst still on the subject of Thai ladyboys one question we get asked more than any other is why Thailand ? Why does Thailand have more gay ladyboys than any other country on the planet - a good question and one we at London Thai Massage were determined to get the answer to. Well here's our theory as to why Thailand has so many ladyboys.
Thai Ladyboy Links Resource
We have collated a great list of useful Thai ladyboys links to bring together a wide variety of information and resources about the fascinating and diverse world of Asia's largest and most diverse transgender community.