Posted May 5, 2014 by Photo Admin in Photography in Pattaya

Ladyboys in Pattaya


Ladyboys are everywhere in Thailand. In the USA and other countries, transgender people are not nearly as visible. In Thailand, you will find ladyboys as bank tellers, waitresses, bar girls, and in every other job or service position imaginable. They are part of the culture, and should be accepted fully. If you can’t handle that, then Thailand may not be for you.

Thailand doesn’t have the same limited notions of gender identity that you’ll find in the USA, UK or other western states. This is mostly because of the vast differences between Buddhism and Christianity, but there are other differences as well. I won’t get into the details of the religious aspects, because that’s a dead end street.

Personally, I have no problem with ladyboys. You’ll hear stories (and see videos) of ladyboys on Walking Street attacking tourists, or robbing people, or generally causing no end of problems. This is not because they are ladyboys; it’s because these individuals are drug-using nutcases. The attention is magnified simply because they are ladyboys. The vast majority are just as normal as any other group of people, and further, the vast majority are not prostitutes. My favorite place to get a haircut in Pattaya is in a small beauty parlor just off Soi Buakhao. It’s owned and operated by a ladyboy who could not be a nicer person. She does a great job, charges a reasonable (low) fee, and speaks great English. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a blast to talk to. One of my go-to real estate agents is a ladyboy. She knows everyone, and has more information about the best listings than anyone else I’ve ever worked with. She drives me around in her own car, makes sure meetings are held on-time, not on Thai time, and is very responsive to phone calls and texts. And no, I won’t give you a referral – I’m keeping this asset for myself!

The girl in the photo is a bar girl, on the famous (infamous?) Soi 6 in Pattaya, Thailand. And yes, I called her a girl. Why? Because that’s how she sees herself. In her heart and mind, she’s female. Who am I to argue with her over her personal identity? I always refer to ladyboys as “her”, and consider them girls. It’s more than simple courtesy. In some countries, men wearing shorts is a sign of being gay. Would you like it if everyone called you a gay man just because you wear shorts? In the same way, it’s incredibly rude to treat ladyboys as men. You can argue biology as much as you want – that’s not the point. I spent about 30 minutes talking to this girl, having a drink in her bar, and found her to be low-key, drama free, and quite charming. Her English was passable (in fact, she speaks several languages fluently), and she never pressured me to take advantage of her professional offerings.

If you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s simply this: Don’t impose your prejudices and past attitudes on your new life in Thailand. Look at everything with open eyes and an open mind, and make new decisions based on your own experiences in your new home. Life is far too short to hang on to old expectations.