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Ladyboys — In All Shapes and Sizes!

| Feb 16, 2015
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Katoey stars.

Katoey stars.

Whenever I have visitors to Thailand, they invariably wish to go to some of the places where Ladyboys tend to congregate.

The fascination of so many foreigners with the famous Ladyboys of Thailand is, seemingly, endless — although I often wonder what the curiosity stems from.

Is it to do with the amazing tolerance and acceptance that “amazing Thailand” shows to the “third gender”? Or is to do with the expectation of the first or second time tourist that every Thai Ladyboy is the epitome of feminine beauty and charm — as portrayed in the advertising posters for some of the famous cabaret shows or beauty pageants, such as Miss International Queen, which have an international following?

Or, as I have sometimes thought, is it to do with the envy that frustrated men from the West have in not being able to wander around their home country in a nice little dress or skirt without anyone turning the proverbial hair? (Ha, ha — sorry, this is my little joke…).

Well, whatever the reason, when I do have visitors and they start asking about Ladyboys, I usually pack them off to one of the aforementioned cabaret shows and let them enjoy a couple of hours watching very professional Ladyboy performers dancing and lip synching through a dozen or so well known tunes — with the de rigueur six or seven changes of costumes– one change usually for every other song. Then there is also usually an opportunity afterwards for said visitors to get “up close and personal” with a selection of the leading stars of the cabaret after the show in designated  “meet and greet” areas where it is possible to take photos of, or with, one of your favourite Ladyboys — for a small fee, of course.

Thai-ladyboy-Nana-Plaza3This is always my preferred way of dealing with my visitor’s request but, now and then, this not enough and some guests insist on going to those areas in the city where numbers of famous and infamous bars, shows, massage joints and so on are grouped together. If I can, I will simply draw a big red circle on the relevant map and point my guests in the right direction, tell them how to get there and try to let them carry on.

Not that I am a prude at all but, alas, in reality, have seen “it” all before — it being whatever goes in the often sleazy, sordid nightlife usually associated with parts of certain Thai cities. Nor does it bother me that many of my friends/visitors are so inquisitive, or that they are not satisfied with the seeing the “whiter than white” Ladyboy cabaret stars in action and really want to see the “grubby” side.

No, it’s quite simply that I never like to see Ladyboys, or any woman for that matter, objectified, being demeaned or taken advantage of in the ways that you tend to invariably see in what are locally called “entertainment” districts (a nice euphemism for “red-light” districts).

Still, having said all this, against my better judgement, a few weeks ago I was again coerced into taking some friends from overseas to one the more well known areas in Bangkok where, if I recall correctly, there are over 60 bars, shows and the like arranged over three floors of some decrepit old buildings. Eighty plus percent of places offering genetic girls go-go dancing, doing “shower shows” (don’t ask) and generally trying to make the almost 100% male audience buy them drinks or take them home as a “temporary girlfriend.” The other twenty per cent are Ladyboy bars offering pretty much the same thing, except for the shower shows!

ladyboys001Fortunately for me (I guess), my friends chose to dine on the terrace of a nearby restaurant which had an excellent view of the comings and goings to the main entrance to the said, semi-outdoor, entertainment complex and every visitor going to and fro passed within two metres or so of our table — and, my goodness, there were lots of visitors! As a result, we didn’t need to go any further into the depths (or should be “pits”?) of the complex…

So what, you might ask. Well, almost two hours later as we left the restaurant, I had renewed admiration for the Ladyboys I had seen; a sense of pride almost.

Tall ones, beautiful ones. Slim and feminine ones; stunning features and the epitome of attractive genetic women. Heavier ones still with clearly male features — wide shoulders, no hips; muscular arms. Old ones, young ones; short hair, long hair. Big hands, big feet…

Ladyboys in all shapes and sizes. No matter what they looked like, no matter what they were about to do, or had done, all of them looking totally unperturbed about other people; not bothered by the herd of onlookers scrutinising them. Not worried one iota about what other people were thinking about them.

Proud to be themselves, accepting themselves for that they are. Proud to be T people!


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Category: Transgender Body & Soul

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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