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The Ladyboys of Thailand; what to know about Thai Ladyboys?

Thai Ladyboys have gained international recognition. Not only for their beauty and performances in stunning cabaret shows in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. But also for their political careers. Some of these Transvestite shows (as they are often wrongly called) now tour Europe, the UK and further afield. Such shows are popular, especially in Thailand, with tourists/visitors and also locals.

Audiences marvel at these Transgender women, their femininity, figures. And also grace but what do they (or you) really know about Ladyboys?

Let’s best start with the basics. Ladyboy is the term more used in Thailand for Transgender women. It’s easy to work out the derivation of this term, a combination of: Lady and Boy, that is a boy who presents as a lady (female). Katoey is also used to describe Thai T-girls but has negative connotations. This word is used more so by Thais when they are commenting on something less than positive about a Ladyboy. It’s sometimes also used by foreigners who don’t know any better.

Ladyboys in Thailand are tolerated but not necessarily accepted

As with Trans people across most of Asia, Ladyboys in Thailand are caught between two distinct viewpoints held by society at large. They share similarities with the plight of Ladyboys in The Philippines. And also Indonesia in that they are tolerated but not universally accepted. To be fair, the situation for Ladyboys in Thailand is generally far better than in some other neighboring countries. Acceptance levels of Trans people in Asia are usually related to the amount of religious freedom permitted in a country.

Thai-Ladyboy posing on the streets in Bangkok - Thailand. Photo by Stephane Bidouze / © shutterstock

This is where Thai Ladyboys are, in the best position compared to Trans-pinay and Waria. As Thailand is a Buddhist country with over 90% of the population following the religion of peace. Ladyboys can live openly and without persecution and overt discrimination. Buddhism encourages people to be what they want as long as they do good deeds. It also teaches people not to judge others and preaches tolerance for others who may be different. Having said this, most Thai believe that Ladyboys are born as they are owing to misdeeds in a past life!

Ladyboys in Thailand, or generally more accepted than in other countries.

So, the bottom line is that Ladyboys in Thailand can be seen in all stratas of society. T-girls work in hairdressing salons, cosmetic stores, private. But also in Government offices (such as Immigration where they deal with the public). They are most visible, though, in almost all Thai soap operas, plus many other TV shows and films. There are also a number of Trans women who work as high-profile business leaders or even politicians.

The overall attitude of Thai people to Ladyboys can be summed up in this well-known saying. “I have no problem accepting any Ladyboy, as long as she is not one of my family.”

Now to a major question, why do so many foreign men like to date Thai Ladyboys?

With their international fame and acknowledged beauty. It is no surprise that so many foreign men like to search sites such as MyLadyboyCupid looking to date Thai Ladyboys.

But is it the physical attributes or mental outlook of such Trans women men find attractive?

On the physical side of Thai Ladyboys

The facial shape and bone structure is quite similar between Thai males and females. With high cheekbones being a key characteristic. Even without cosmetic surgery enhancements. Thai Ladyboys are often amongst the most naturally beautiful looking females in the world;

Thai Ladyboys are often physically indistinguishable from genetic females. Many do not develop any male characteristic gender markers. In fact, you only have to look at the contestants in some of the beauty contests to see this. Can you believe these Trans women are not genetic women?

Many Ladyboys know from an early age that they are Trans and start taking birth control pills (for their hormonal content) when 10 or 11. Others take sanctioned courses of hormones aged from about 13 or 14. The redistribution of their body fat and natural breast growth means that their body shape stays very feminine

Foreign men looking to date such Thai Ladyboys:

With so many Ladyboys in the entertainment industry or having participated in beauty contests. Many have experience with talking to foreign men. These T-girls are fun to be with and combine this feature with the in-built Thai sense of grace;

Generally foreign men using ladyboy dating sites such as My Ladyboy Cupid are more open minded than Thai men. They will treat and respect as Ladyboy as they would a genetic woman and take care of her as if she was his wife;

we have to add this one: many foreign men enjoy their relationships with Ladyboys as they can't get pregnant. Furthermore, unless the hormones have suppressed this aspect, these T-girls have the sex drive of a young man!

Ladyboys are an integral part of the fabric of Thai society

The Thai reserve and non-threatening demeanor are famous. It's also well known that no-one bothers about what you look like or how you dress in Thailand. Ladyboys, Toms (female to male Trans), gay men and women all happily co-exist and work together without overt discrimination. There is no atmosphere of the threat of violence associated with discrimination against minorities. Such as that which is apparent in, say, the US.

Maybe the West has a lot to learn about dealing with and recognizing the third-sex!

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