Former actress Jim Sara claims that she was not only Thailand’s very first transsexual to be officially recognized as ‘Miss’, but also the first to have full sex-operation surgery. For the first time in English, here is her story on how she became Thailand’s first ‘real’ ladyboy.
A native of Nakhorn Sawan province, Miss Jim first hit the limelight in her teens when she acted in a series of films – each one playing the part of an actual women. According to the film crew and fans, Jim was so cute in those days, that everyone mistook her for a Tom-boy! And even after she gave up performing for the cameras and took up the normal working life, people around her still believed she was just a girl disguised as a boy. Jim relates the story of the time she was employed at a fancy hotel. One day, on being approached by one the hotel bosses she was taken aside and informed that it was against staff policy to hire Tom-boys. She was instructed that from that day onwards, unless she went back to dressing as she should – as a proper female – she would be fired!
Fed-up with the miserly pay of hotel work, Jim changed direction and got herself a job as a well-paid tour guide. She admits that she had a great time with her new chosen career and managed to save plenty of cash. So much in fact, that she was able to establish her own bar – aimed at gays. Her bar was soon a hit with the local and expat ‘pink’ communities, especially when she thought the idea up of secretly showing gay sex movies. Not for long though, her bar was busted by the police; Jim was arrested, her bar shut down and she lost all her money.
Devastated at such bad luck, Jim packed her suitcase and headed for London at the advice of an English friend she had met while working as a guide. Wanting to travel as a ‘woman’, Jim decided to travel on her sister’s passport and left her ‘male’ one at home. Not long after, Jim secured herself work in a Thai restaurant and she was back to earning decent cash.
By chance, while flicking through a copy of a local newspaper, Jim came across an advertisement from a London hospital looking for sex-operation ‘case study’ applicants. It was 1976 and Jim was just 23 years old. Jim jumped at the opportunity of a free sex-operation as no such thing was available in Thailand in those days. Mind you, Jim wasn’t the only one to apply for such a great opportunity and on the day of application she was surprised to meet another 100 or so transsexual hopefuls. She was the only Thai and one of just three Asians.
Jim managed to pass the first stage of application and the amount of applicants was cut to 40. For the next couple of months, Jim had to attend a series of daily interviews and tests, most of them psychological and underwent hormone treatment– she was fortunate that her place of work wasn’t too far down the road. Finally, the doctors made their ‘case study’ list be known and when Jim heard her name being called out as one of the chosen 7, she broke down in tears. Later, on asking one of the doctors why she had been one of the lucky ones, she was informed that she was the most ‘lady-like’ of all the hopefuls, both mentally and physically. Jim’s operation was classified as ‘full-option’ and it was to take a total of 14 hours. In the meantime, Jim took 7 days leave from work and told no-one.
After the operation, Jim admits that she was in a lot of pain and it was a few days before the bandages came off and she could finally see her new self in the mirror. She was thrilled at what she had become – her dream had come true.
When Jim’s visa was coming to an end, she decided that she had had enough of London and headed back for home. With the sex-operation complete, Jim thought it best to disclose the details to her family for the very first time – at the airport where they were waiting. Only having known Jim as a cross-dresser before, they were absolutely shocked to see their brother walking through arrivals with a big pair of breasts. Jim’s father never did get over such a surprise and didn’t talk to her for years after.
The Second part of Jim’s story can be read at: Thailand’s 1st ‘Real’ Ladyboy! (Part Two)
Story courtesy of Khoosangkoosom magazine
Coming soon on thai-blogs.com: The Confessions of a Thai Minor Wife. An exclusive interview with a mia noi.