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Beautiful Strangers
April 13, 2008 6:47 AM   Subscribe

If you've ever been to Bangkok you might've run into one of them and not even known it. They are a ubiquitous fixture on the bar scene and can be found in the Nana Plaza area. If you're asking yourself the same question that I was then this maybe your answer. Although they enjoy a certain amount of acceptance, they still have a long way to go to be recognized as full citizens with equal rights. Of course, this hasn't stopped them from staking their claim to the spotlight, and trying to become as much of the mainstream as they can. But, if you thought that they were pushovers, well then, think again. [previously mentioned here]
posted by hadjiboy (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Me: "No! The IP address is for Lad y boys, a Spanish Boy Scouts site! I am into scouting, seriously."
IT Director: {lifts eyebrow and nods slowly} Sure it is.

Some links perhaps NSFW for some folks. Just sayin...
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:56 AM on April 13, 2008


See also Beautiful Boxer should fighting katoies be what turns your crank.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:09 AM on April 13, 2008


It is refreshing to see that there is a healthy alternative to Americans seeking underage girls in Thailand...Perhaps the drop in the value of the American dollar will slow down the rush to visit.
posted by Postroad at 7:17 AM on April 13, 2008


good grief zerobyproxy! Are transvestites NSFW by their very nature? or did I miss the porn part? I'm always missing the porn part!

Interesting post, hadjiboy. I had no idea they were so mainstream.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:36 AM on April 13, 2008


seconding/thirding Beautiful Boxer (linked in OP under "mainstream") - an amazing & moving film based upon the life of the extraordinary Nong Thoom
.
an interesting book on kathoey is Richard Totman's "The Third Sex"
.
thanks hadjiboy
posted by jammy at 7:59 AM on April 13, 2008


linked in OP under "mainstream"

Ugh. How did I miss that?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:21 AM on April 13, 2008


Very well done post.

The movie looks really interesting. Also, those are some of the most gorgeous transvestites I've ever seen!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:46 AM on April 13, 2008


If they "assume - or are born with - feminine characteristics" then aren't they transgendered, not transvestites? I was under the impression that transvetites were men who like to dress as women, but once they begin to live as women they are considered transgendered. I don't know, it's a murky linguistic landscape.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:54 AM on April 13, 2008


Hmm, nevermind, I see one of the links addressed it. Also, "ladyboy?" Wow.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:58 AM on April 13, 2008


That was a great article, but now I'm going to have "One Night in Bangkok" from Chess stuck in my head ALL DAY.
posted by FritoKAL at 9:25 AM on April 13, 2008


another good book is "Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys: Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand" - a collection of essays edited by Peter Jackson & Gerard Sullivan
.
also, for the female side of things you can check out "Toms and Dees: Transgender Identity and Female Same-Sex Relationships in Thailand" by Megan Sinnot
.
and there's a number of articles on kathoey (scroll down to the section "Research and Discussion papers") over at Transgender Asia
.
posted by jammy at 9:48 AM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some of the most beautiful women I've ever seen were men in Bangkok.

I remember being in Patpong in 1994 eating dinner with some friends in a cafe across from a bar. There were "girls" working in the bar, their job was to sit there looking relaxed and then occasionally stand out front and casually lure passing guys inside to buy them drinks. From living in LA, I knew how to spot a "ladyboy" already and I was amazed at how beautiful a few of these girls were... they were ten times as feminine as I am. Anyhow, I watched the game for about two hours, just transfixed. Guys would be lured in, many of them obviously without a clue that their new friend wasn't female, and then they'd either leave with or without the girl. Generally the girl would be back about twenty minutes later after probably having made some money on the side. It was one of the best people watching nights of my life. Seriously. And the food at the restaurant was pretty dang delicious too.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:13 AM on April 13, 2008


See also: Fa'afafine, transvestite/transgender people of Polynesia.
posted by jack_mo at 10:42 AM on April 13, 2008


In John Burdett's Bangkok books, the main character, Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, has a partner who is a katoey. Interesting read about the culture.
posted by Xurando at 11:05 AM on April 13, 2008


One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:31 AM on April 13, 2008


When I was in Bangkok, that damn song was the tormentor of my inner monologue. Ugh. I hate that damn song.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:22 PM on April 13, 2008


Out of curiosity, where were katoeys mentioned in the MeFi post about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival linked to at the end of this post?
posted by WalterMitty at 2:41 PM on April 13, 2008


I remember getting my hair coloured in a Pattaya salon and my dad asking the hairdresser how far along she was in her pregnancy. She just laughed and said she was due in October. When I told him later that there was no way she could have been pregnant he was absolutely dumbfounded. I think his mind was opened a little bit more that night.
posted by liquorice at 3:56 PM on April 13, 2008


In John Burdett's Bangkok books

I read the first two of these and I'm currently awaiting the third's release as a mass market paperback. I enjoyed the first two immensely -- but I liked his previous novels, Asylum and a History of Thirst as well.

Out of curiosity, where were katoeys mentioned in the MeFi post about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival linked to at the end of this post?

The 'spotlight' link links to their website. I've just booked accomodation for this year's Fringe, so perhaps I'll get to see them this year.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:35 PM on April 13, 2008


...I'm currently awaiting the third's release as a mass market paperback

It's out - the third one is better than the second one in IMO.
posted by awfurby at 8:14 PM on April 13, 2008


Out of curiosity, where were katoeys mentioned in the MeFi post about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival linked to at the end of this post?

It's the "lesser-known" in the Hundreds of other lesser-known shows are on in the smaller and weirder venues.
posted by hadjiboy at 11:36 PM on April 13, 2008


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