Oh the ladyboys. Such a controversial topic in the rest of the world.
Apparently not so in Thailand. Ladyboys are accepted in the rest of society (as far as I can tell) as well as everyone else. Especially after having talked to several of them, it seems this is a natural progression of things and it made me start to wonder that if it is so prevalent here and in surrounding countries (Laos, etc I've heard also have high percentages of ladyboys), are the rest of us just in denial?
In any case, some investigation was to be had regarding the famous ladyboys of Thailand, especially after our taxi driver (the one who faithfully drove us around the entire day) said that his cousin was one of the most famous ladyboys in Thailand. She stars in some sort of princess show and has a famous bank manager as a boyfriend (this boyfriend is also the same man who paid for the rest of her operations). Our driver showed us a video of her during one of her shows on his Nokia phone and I must say, she was beautiful.
Since hearing a little bit about the ladyboys and their glamour, we became a bit curious. What was it really like for these ladyboys and how was society really treating them? Certainly there was enough hubbub being said about the sex trade in Thailand (not so pleasant, I'm afraid), but what about the ladyboys?
So, we asked them. Plain and simple. And here were their surprising responses.
Most of them know they want to be ladyboys from a young age. We're talking 13, 14, sometimes even younger. Since it is seemingly accepted in society, they're allowed to start taking hormones at this age as well, assuming they can afford to do so and their families agree (the ones we met had obliging families - we also heard of families who groom certain boys from much younger ages to become ladyboys).
So they start the transformation then, though technically they're not allowed to visually become girls until they are 18, after they are done with school (so they must keep their hair cut short, etc until then). But from what I understand weekends are considered free zones so many of them dress up and do their girly things then.
Most of them seem quite happy, to be honest. They worry about girl things like not having boyfriends or being pretty enough and love to be catty. In general it all seems like girls having fun.
And most of them are beautiful, plain and simple. They put in much more effort than I ever will (wear makeup, do their hair, work out, wear nice clothing).
So all in all I say: good for them. Go do your thing, ladyboys.