7 Things that make Ladyboys so Frequent in Thailand

Brunt Dana
4 min readMar 2, 2021

When you go abroad for an uncommon vacation, one of the most typical destinies you can choose is Thailand. This South-Eastern state has many attractions: beautiful Buddhist temples with gold and marble all around, vast natural extensions for the tourist to explore, their amazing beaches, delicious gourmet and street dishes, and its fame as a market destiny to negotiate, and a lot more.

But like a lot of other destinies, Thailand cultivates at the same time something some consider profitable. Searching Google for Thailand, you will probably find the term “kathoey”, Thai people use to talk about transgenders, also called “ladyboys”. Thailand’s ladyboys are in fact prestigious enough for tourist to travel to Thailand particularly to find them.

There are Ladyboys in Thailand since decades and it’s pretty shocking to know they remain so requested, despite the wrong view most people have about them. What is more, ladyboys are actually seen as a piece of the idiosyncrasy of the country. Many things make ladyboys so requested even today, and these are only a few ones:

1: Thailand has an open mind about the whole LGBT development.

Thailand outstands from other countries because of the freedom LGBT people enjoy in this country and the open mind of a good part of the people. Unlike Islamic countries where expressing a divergent sexual tendency is seen as a crime, to be LGBT in Thailand is the absolutely common. Due to the freedom they enjoy, they can go around as they please, or in their words, “go out and feel proud”. Well, there will sure be some people who don’t accept the LGBTs but they usually live in the countryside.

2: Sex changing surgeries and interventions of the like are sloppy in Thailand.

Not only because of the beaches, tourists also come to Thailand looking for a medical surgery, especially for a sex changing. People in Thailand can easily have a surgery when they need one so a lot of transgender decide to pay for them and get out of the operating room as a ladyboys rather than just a transvestite. Affordable and open to anyone surgeries are the choice of many boys that want to become a ladyboy.

3: Buddhism states that transgenders are so because of sins from previous lives.

Several religions think diversely about homosexuality and sex changing. Lucky for Thai transgenders, Buddhism, the main cult in the country, don’t actually condemn them. Buddhists call it the “third sex” and believe it is not a choice to be a ladyboy, but due to previous sins. That’s to say they think that ladyboys are worth mercy since it was not their choice to become ladyboys, instead it was a karmic punishment.

4: Ladyboys are a tourist attraction.

A lot of tourists think ladyboys are fascinating and out of curiosity they go all the way to Thailand to figure out what’s behind the ruckus. Many look for ladyboys to find out more about their attributes and maybe contact them later, many carry out researches and collect information about them, and sure, many look for ladyboys to have fun.

5: Sexual request for ladyboys remains high.

Prostitutes are respected in Thailand and everybody knows that a lot of tourists go to Thailand only for a sexual experience with Thais, including the notorious ladyboys. The request for these services seems to go on, and lots of ladyboys become prostitutes to earn their living. Prostitution is generally seen as a need to take pity on rather than a crime so Thais have respect to them and this is mainly why the demand for ladyboys is still high in Thailand.

6: Being a ladyboy is a job itself.

Many ladyboys make a career out of their condition. Anyway, you must understand that not all ladyboys choose prostitution; a lot of ladyboys practice other professions. Actually, ladyboys in Thailand incur in arts and even politics. You can also find companies that offer entertainment service to customers who are looking for ladyboys. Actually, nightclub shows with ladyboys are the main attraction in some tourists spots and some establishments ask clients to reserve a table.

7: Becoming a ladyboy is encouraged by show business.

Ladyboys are so famous that its no wonder that there are ladyboy tournaments. The ladyboy beauty contest called Miss Tiffany’s Universe is the goal that many ladyboys aim to accomplish. Actually, the contest is seen on national TV and is for all audiences. Not only a beauty contest, but also the box tournament with ladyboys is a blockbuster, and even an acclaimed movie about a ladyboy boxer was filmed and awarded in many film festivals.

A few reasons that show how a foreigner’s opinion can be way different from the local view if we talk about ladyboys. Most people think that ladyboys are only prostitutes and have a wrong view about them and though something about that might be true, the second is simply a prejudice. Ladyboys are persons just like us; they just decided to carry a life that goes with their condition by standing up against gender prejudices. They have the luck of living in Thailand.

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