Dispatch from Thailand — Misdemeanours

| Apr 15, 2013
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In an earlier article, I alluded to the generally bad press ladyboys get in Thailand (and elsewhere for that matter) if they commit a misdemeanour or some other criminal act.  An extract from a recent example of such an article in a ‘’newspaper’’ (the inverted commas as the general standards of content and reporting leave a lot to be desired) published locally in Pattaya is shown below and, yes, as you might have guessed, the article is fairly damning, smacking of the merest chance using sensationalism as a way to sell more of the ‘’newspaper’’ in question.

Ladyboys being processed by police.

Ladyboys being processed by police.

Also, I have stated previously, whilst in no way condoning the actions of any ladyboys breaking the law or engaging in acts of criminality, and the tone of the reporting is a cause of concern, the more disturbing aspects of this matter were to do with the Forum in which the link to the article had been copied and pasted.

Let me explain: there are several web based Forums in Thailand, primarily being patronised by the retired foreign community living in the country (usually, elderly gentlemen with, presumably not much to do with their retirement days save spend time reading articles such as this and reading other people’s responses and comments thereon). These Forums are an off-shoot of a very useful, successful advertising vehicle and hence attract a wide variety of nationalities, and from what I can ascertain, covering a wide cross section of age groups — given that they advertise, for example, apartments to rent, job opportunities and so on as well as the day to day details of life in the expat “paradise” of Thailand.

So, you may ask what’s the real cause of concern? What’s the problem with people expressing their views on a public news article on a public forum? Well, glance through the article below (I’ve shortened it a bit but left most of the article as reported) and then I’ll tell you.

The arrest of a 14-year-old prostitute in a Bangkok hotel room was made during an undercover “sting” prostitution bust.

The police had been notified of a prostitution ring run by ladyboys and an arrest of a female was made at the [name deleted] hotel.
After her arrest, the girl prostitute Yui said she worked for a ladyboy pimp named “Pae,” who would find customers for her. The ladyboy Pae was staying at a rented room in a nearby condominium.

The police went to investigate at the room, and found the ladyboy pimp, identified as Mr. Natthaphol or Pae Natenoi, age 23, from an adjacent province. Ms. Pae was a ladyboy who had already undergone sex-change surgery.

Police also arrested several other people in the room, including “Ms. Ying” (alias), age 19, along with three other ladyboys and a female, who were between the ages of 15 to 17 years old.

It was revealed that the foundation was alerted that a website was advertising the sexual services of girls under age 20 for the price of 1,500-2,000 THB. So they coordinated the police to investigate the operation.

As I said earlier, the vast majority of the Forum readers seem to be foreign and, given the various nationalities apparently represented on the site (judging by the national flags often used as symbols and the various names and nicknames in use), one would have hoped that the myriad of comments made in response to this article would be balanced, reasoned, mature and so on.

Quite the opposite; and this is what disturbed me most about the whole situation.

The vitriol directed against the ladyboys; the transphobic comments; the snide remarks; the insensitive remarks; the repeated references to the ladyboys doing this just so they could be incarcerated in a male jail and so on and so on, simply saddened me.

Yes, there were, apparently, criminal acts being committed (though I must say one never really gets to know the ‘’true’’ story about incidents such as these) but just imagine if there were hetero or gay community members involved in such activities — people making comments would be all cautious about their remarks, all polite with their views, all concerned not to make undue assumptions or references to the gender/sexual orientation of those involved.

I literally shuddered when I re-read the piece and accompanying comments; if that’s what people of the various foreign communities really think about members of the T community (and especially living in Thailand with its large, visible T community), if they continue to have no respect for the human issues involved, if they cannot conceal their transphobic hatred, what hope is there for any of us in the T world?

We really have a long way to go.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion

Christine B

About the Author ()

Christine has written numerous (at least 150) articles, columns, op-eds, features & stories for well known T magazines, websites & e-zines; she also works as a part time fiction editor for Club Lighthouse Publishing, and is a co-editor of an award winning T-girl Magazine. In addition, she has written 8 adult books mainly in the T sub-genre which have been published by Club Lighthouse Publishing, for whom she has been the best selling author for the last 5 years.

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