Category Archives: Thai Ladyboys

Male Bodies, Women’s Souls

A few weeks ago one of our readers, the co-author of this book, sent me a copy. Here is my review.

This book, was certainly not written by any old Dick and Harry from your local pub. LeeRay Costa, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Woman’s Studies in Virginia, while Andrew Matzner, MA, is an expert in cross-cultural transgenderism.

The book, using narrative methods, analyzes the experiences of the transgendered (Kathoey / Ladyboy) to challenge the stereotypes they face. In much of the book, the authors prefer to stick to the term ‘Sao Praphet Song’ (Second-type women). Personally though, I will keep with my own term ‘Ladyboy’ in this review, as it is that term which seals the majority of the readers coming to this blogsite via Google looking for information about the transgendered.

LeeRay and Andrew really delve into the definitions of ‘gay’ vs ‘kathoey’ etc. Absolutely, too much detail for me to go into today, but basically they say that Thai society itself often fails to comprehend and differentiate between the two words. And that is where a lot of the stereotype and discrimination originates from. The book explains that a ‘kathoey’ is used to refer to those born male, who have a feminine manner and identify themselves as woman. The ‘kathoeys’ view women as positive role-models and see themselves as having the same characteristics such as: faithful and gentle while believing that sex is only one part of ‘love’.

In stark contrast however, a lot of the ladyboys had little decent to say about gays and viewed them as ‘promiscuous’, ‘sexually active’, ‘insincere’ and had all the negative Thai masculine characteristics as ‘irresponsible’, abusive’, ‘lazy’ and ‘alcoholic’. According to the book, gays and even tom-boys, in general, didn’t view ladyboys in any brighter light too.

Half of the book concerns previous study of ladyboys and many of the quotes are those coming from author Peter A Jackson, PhD, who is a Senior Fellow in Thai History, Australia. Then, much of the latter of the book deals with an analysis of the ‘Sao Praphet Song’ narratives. All of the narratives were written anonymously by ladyboys at Chiang Mai University – members of the Transgender Club – ‘Rosepaper’.

Many of the narratives paint a clear picture of physical violence, family intolerance and social rejection. Unaccepted by their parents, some of the ladyboys were also victims of brutal physical abuse at the hands of their fathers. Unhappy at the sexuality of their biological sons, some parents tried to change their feelings by forcing them into different more manly environs such as playing masculine sports etc…. On other occasions however, the ladyboys explained that their parents were accepting, but only on a ‘superficial level’. Many of those who felt completely unaccepted had to try and hide their sexuality; they lived two different lives – they’d dress and act like men at home but go out at night as women.

What is interesting to note, was that Andrew realized that ladyboys in the US and those in Thailand both believed ‘The grass is greener on the other side’ and that their opposite societies were more tolerant of transgenderism. It can be inferred that perhaps the West would see a lot more ladyboys in public than there actually were, if society were more socially accepting.

Many of the narratives are touching and tell some horrific stories of rape and gang-rape of ladyboys at High School, which they believe is prevalent in Thailand’s schools. One ladyboy even claims that 70% of young male students have had some kind of gay/ladyboy experience at least once.

The book aims at challenging wide-spread belief, misinformation and misinterpretation that transgederism evolves from sociological environs such as this “A household in which the father is either permanently or frequently absent is seen as negatively impacting a boy’s psychosexual development” ( Jackson 1997). In fact, even some of the ladyboys in their narratives believe that such environs affected them in one way or another. Personally speaking, most of ladyboys in their stories tell very different backgrounds. Interestingly, in contrast to main-stream belief, the ladyboys were not happy at being born with a woman’s soul and would have preferred to have been born a real man. Some of them believed that this ‘bad luck’ occurred because of ‘bad karma’ created in a previous life.

The ladyboys on choosing to write their narratives, do so in an effort to to help change Thai society and challenge the many misconceptions about them. “We didn’t choose to be born this way”. According to society, ladyboys are only useful – working as beauticians, cabaret dancers, costume designers or make-up artists etc… And that Thai society viewed them negatively as being ‘loud-mouthed’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘over-acting’. Again, it is intersting to read that many ladyboys also complained of others who acted in this exact kind of way, thus putting a negative reflection on all of them.

As what could be a serious challenge, to even the title of this book – it was found certain aspects of a person’s identity may be open to change and in some cases individuals could change their identity from ‘kathoey’ to ‘gay’ and back again. That, I found personally to be true – and could argue that some ladyboys are only so, for a brief fashionable period of their young lives (I have witnessed this throughout my time in Thailand). It could be argued therefore, that a lot of ladyboys are not born with a woman’s soul after all.

The authors wrote this book as a stepping-stone for further study into transgenderism. I would personally say after reading this book, that more narrative study like this ought to be broadened and to not just include those born into middle-class families. How about further study into ladyboys born into poor rural families, those who have renounced their transgenderism, older middle-aged ones and those who have entered the world of ‘working for foreigners’etc….?

Anyway, this book ought to be compulsory reading for anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of ‘Thailand’s transgendered youth’.

You can buy this book at


If anyone has any books they want reviewed or new tourist attractions that need publicity then please contact either myself or Richard. At the moment we are looking for a Muay Thai Camp to write about.

Thailand’s 1st Ladyboy Band!

(This is a thai-blogs exclusive, and the first ever article/blog translated from Thai into English about the band ‘Venus Flytrap’)

Move over Girls and Boy-bands, the latest musical wonder to be hitting the airways are one of Thailand’s newest bands – consisting of only ladyboys!

Sony Entertainment (Thailand) are currently getting ready to market their hottest commodity on a big scale and proud to be the innovators of ‘Venus Flytrap’ who they have uniquely called Thailand’s first one and only ‘Ladyboy band’.

“Our ladyboy band members are not only as sexy as female stars but they are also just as talented” a spokesman from Sony said. Venus Flytrap’s 5 honey-bunnies are named as follows:

Hot Venus
Posh Venus
Cool Venus
Naughty Venus
Sweet Venus

This unique project was the marketing brains of Sony Entertainment who thought it was time that the pop music-mad public had more to chose from than just girly/boy bands. Sony opened their doors last year for auditions and the five beauties above were chosen for their looks, talents, skills and characters. They have been working together for a year.

“Not only do these ladyboys look like real women but their voices and dance-styles are just as identical too. Venus Flytrap have also been guided by famed foreign pop music experts such as Ingo Schoor and Marco Krismann from Germany. Their sound is said to be somewhere between the likes of Electronic House, New Wave and Eurasian Pop Sound.

Venus Flytrap were heard to say that they are immensely proud to be Thailand’s first ladyboy band and want to take the opportunity to promote rights for ladyboys and gays. On asked whether they had any worries about the response of anti-ladyboy establishments, the girls said “We are not worried in the slightest! We are very confident, believe in ourselves and give only our 100% effort. Besides, in this day of age, Thai society as a whole is becoming much more accepting of ladyboys”

Venus Flytrap admitted that they were encouraged and influenced by sexy rebellious Thai pop sensation Tata Young “A lot of people were once very anti-Tata but she stood up for herself, didn’t listen to her critics and just look at her now, she’s a mega superstar!

The ladyboys went on to say “We can promise you one thing and that is – we are not a resort cabaret show” “We are also hoping that our music will be enjoyed by everyone: children, teenagers, adults and grandparents”

“We are only the second ladyboy band in the world and take aspiration from the first ladyboy band ever (Korean) who became successful even though that country’s society is much more anti-ladyboy than Thailand’s”

Look out for Venue Flytrap….very very soon. Let’s wish them the best of luck!

Visit Steve’s main page at Steve’s Weblog

Thai Ladyboys

“He fought like a man so he could become a woman” – Still from the Thai movie Beautiful Boxer

Thailand here has many-a glorious site to feast ones eyes on, besides just a million temples, two million taxis and three million noodle soup stalls we have the one and only ‘Thai ladyboy’. I had decided to stay away from such sordid topic til our cute little regular-commenteer friend from Indonesia here put in the query of ‘Can Richard or Steve write a blog on lady boys? – i just wanna know all the ins-and-outs about such a fine species’. Well, since our Webmasting friend Mr Richard is busy blogging to the likes of every Thai custom and superstition under the sun, Koh Changs’s gruesome garbage piles and how to be a respected teacher in Thailand, its me instead who has had to put pen to paper and give yous all a behind the scenes adventure into the goings-on of that…. lusty Thai ladyboy.

Ive certainly had a ride of laughs during my decade here in the ‘Land of Monks and Mangosteen’ but nothing has made me crack-up as much as the site of the Farang man finding out that his future ex-wife wanna-be used to be, in fact, a man.

I can recall the very sad and sorrowful tale of an English guy a few years back who after meeting his darling in Pattaya decided to turn the relationship into a serious one. So, our English buddy here spends the next one and half years sending his loved one wads-a of cash, building for mum-in-law a spanking new house and enjoying quarterly year trips to visit his cherished beauty. Since our English friend here could not cope with the anguish of having to live a life alone in Boring Britain decided to propose marriage to the love of his life and take her back to his home country. That was until….the day of the interview at the British embassy.

After the officials had listened seperately to the backgrounds of the lovers, the officials promptly realised that perhaps our English laddie here was getting more than he bargained for. So they took the guy to the side and said “Mr fellow Englishman and law abiding citizen…..we have decided NOT to afford a fiancee visa to your future ex-wife because her passport in Thai language reads ‘Mr’ and not ‘Miss’, do NOT make a laughing stock of us here at the embassy, asking us to afford a fiancee-visa to a man! you must darned well know that British law hears nothing of such a despicable thing!

All the other visa-hopefuls that day had the more than laughable opportunity of witnessing our English friend here running round the embassy carpark for the next half hour booting his darling up the bum and shouting to the likes of “In the name of the Queen i have never been so humiliated in the whole of me life!”

Once, when living down in Krabi a long long time ago my Dutch buddy asked me to go with him to Patong, Phuket for a few days and since my friend here enjoyed the bar life i was soon following him up and down the main strip stopping at a few bars for a bevvie. Next, whilst sat at one bar at an awful time of the day, something like noon, a ladyboy on standing outside the bar was in a brawling match with this darned big Israeli guy on the other side of the street cursing each other to the likes of “Stop your mouth or i put my high-heel over your head” and from the former Israeli solidier: “Just you go back to your village and ride a buffalo”.

After ten minutes of this verbal abuse the Israeli walks off and my Dutch friend on knowing this ladyboy asks her “What was all that about?” to which the ladyboy replied. “After spending last night with the guy, I just….this morning, decided to tell him that i was a ladyboy”.

Now, our ladyboy friends down there on Phuket are well-known for one thing.. and that is flashing their ‘works of operation-parts’ at a whole host of pedestrains walking by. After a few farang grannies and grandads had almost died of a heart attack on seeing such private parts exposed, the Patong police decided to make such an offence illegal, and posted up a few warnings in Thai lingo to the likes of ‘Any ladyboy caught flashing her watermelons in public will be prosecuted and fined: 500 baht’

Beyond a question of doubt, zillions of Farang have a fascination for Thai Ladyboys and to prove it you only have to look through the viewing statistics and refering search engines of Whilst our dear webmaster friend here Mr Richard scores lots of new readers who have posted ‘Grand Palace Photo’ or ‘Spicy papaya salad recipe’ into a google search engine half the refering searches to my blogs can only be called ‘sizzlingly saucy’

On top of the most common decent ones i get, number one (for sure)are viewers who ask for info to the likes of ‘Thai girlfriends’ and second most popular has to be ‘Thailand + Lady boys’.

Then, it astonishes me the inumerable amount of Farang who are unable to differentiate between an actual girl and a ladyboy! So for all you readers, here is some advice… on ‘spotting a ladyboy’:

Be suspicious to the likes of any supposed girl standing at the height of 6 foot 2 with an enormous chest and bulging biceps.

Beware of any husky voice asking to the likes of “Hello honey, where you go?”

And be real darned suspect if she has bigger feet than you and legs that look-like those of David Beckham’s

Even so, many of our ladyboy friends are pretty stunning to say the least and in places like Pattaya, are undoubtedly far better looking than most of the bar girls from Buriram. Talking about the height of them again, I am amazed to the high percentage of Thai men, who on being ridiculously tall, decide to have a ‘sex change’ and become a ladyboy.

On becoming a ladyboy it is essential first, to seek a change in your hormone system and so all the ladyboy wanna-bes can be seen popping into their local pharmacies and purchasing a whole years supply af that ladies’ medicine; ‘the pill’. While the doctors recommend consuming just one-a-day, the ladyboy wanna-bes are scoffing them down at the rate of 5-10 a day. Next, the ladyboys on needing to slim down are terribly reknowned for taking a daily dosage of the world’s most potent ‘slimming pill’ and that is ‘methamphetamine’ (Amazingly, a few crooked doctors in The States have been caught prescribing this drug to ladyboy wanna-bes over there, under its medical name: Desoxyn!)

Tonnes of the ladyboys are addicted to this stuff, and so many a Farang who on in enjoying the bar scene down there in Patpong, Khao Sarn or Phuket are warned to be darned careful on any dealings with a ladyboy, yes stacks of them are suffering from the ‘madness fever’, and im not exaggerating!

Once upon a time i had a decent ladyboy friend of mine over there on Ratchdaphisek who was working as a make-up artist. I asked her one day to the likes of “What do your folks back home think about you?” to which she answered “They don’t know im a ladyboy, in fact every time i go home i wear a big baggy jacket to disguise me chest and tell them ive long hair cause i play for a music band”, and im not joking.

You may have wondered what happens when one of the insane pickpocketing ladyboys is jailed. Well, they get banged up in the girlie section and certainly not the male section. As the randy male inmates would be mouth-watering in delight at the prospect of a big-ballooned ladyboy as a jailmate. As for toilets, of course the ladyboy uses the female one.

Then there is the question of ‘military service’, what an embarrasing sight it would be for the Royal Thai Army to have a lipsticked ladyboy guarding the border with all the Khmer soldiers on the other side staring into their binoculars and having a right darned laugh at such a saucy spectacle. And so, when the army on ordering a Thai male citizen to surrender to their recruiting office, a thorough inspection has to be made to the health of the guy.

Of course, many a recruiter has been not-so-surprised to see the likes of a ladyboy walking through the door. Now, its army policy that the authenticity of the ladyboys’ chest and underparts be analysed and classified ‘real’ by an army doctor before she is exempt from military service. As for any ladyboy wanna-bes who use tennis balls to fool the on-lookers, they are not, and are soon forced to serve the compulsory two years.

Ive been asked on a few occasions to – what happens to a ladyboy when they are past their sell-by-date ie. too darned old to be of any use anymore. Well, the answer is, just the same as any other normal woman and that is selling grilled pork by the side of the street, cutting hair or dealing in lottery tickets. as for the physical attraction of one! i’ll let your imagination get the better of you there!

Then finally, I remember the classic newspaper headlines in the Thai Raj newspaper a couple of years back that read ‘Accountant to sue hospital for the mysterious disappearance of his diggery-doo!’ It seems that the pitiful accountant who on going for a back operation at a darned well-known Bangkok hospital was the victim of a despicable doctor cock-up after his ‘operation details’ got mixed up with those of a ladyboy wanna-be’s! So, for any of you male readers out there wanting to have an operation in Thailand – you have been warned!

NOTES: Since this is a ‘family’ related website it has been decided to postpone the popular VOCAB FOR TODAY section this time round. As for the reasoning behind this, I’ll leave that to your own imagination’

Visit Steve’s main page at Steve’s Weblog