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    Thailand Ladyboys – Facts about the 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, 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 worldwide and many travelers go to Thailand specifically to meet them. Ladyboys have been around in Thailand for a long time. It’s quite a bit surprising that they continue to be so prevalent, despite the negative stigma associated with them. They are considered part of Thai culture. There are so many reasons why ladyboys continue to thrive, and here are some of them:
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    Ladyboy, Transgender person, or the third gender – They are called Kathoey

    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 have become entirely common in Thai society, like everyone else, they go about their daily affairs: shopping, meeting with friends, using public transport, visiting the temple.

    Large Ladyboy Population in Thailand

    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. The Thai community creates a sound public opinion environment for those of different sexual orientations. They can enjoy their freedom of expressing themselves.

    Thai Buddhism helps to understand transsexuals in Thailand

    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 how 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 compassion.

    Big cities have wider acceptance

    Kathoey’s 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

    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. The Miss Tiffany 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. 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

    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 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

    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

    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

    Kathoey has easy access to hormones and surgery. Local chain drugstores can carry as many as 23 hormonal preparations, all available (without a doctor’s note) over the shop counter. Many dresses as women and undergo a wide range of medical procedures such as breast implants, hormones, silicone injections, or Adam apple reductions. That is why a Kathoey is hard to distinguish. Thailand ladyboy

    Developmental pathways for those who want to be a kathoey

    Once a young boy has become discontented about his gender identity, he finds that modern Thai society opens up for 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 the 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 on extending to information about employment and surgery.

    Kathoey career

    A word here about economics. A nose operation can cost US$240. Sex reassignment surgery can cost 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 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 is the‘kathoey career’ for most Kathoey.

    Beautiful soldiers

    Like many countries, Thailand’s military has conscription by way of a lottery. In 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 they are a good beginner guide for those who don’t know what to look for. Also, at the end of the day. 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.
    Last edited by Barfly; 10-30-2022, 02:05 PM.