Photographer's Note

The so-called ladyboys, Kathoeys or the "third gender" are a familiar sight in Thailand where the local society seems to be far more accepting than many. I captured this shot with available light at a caberet show.

Kathoey, a Thai word of Khmer origin, refers to a male to female transgender person or effeminate, cross-dressing gay. Nearly all kathoeys dress as women and many that can afford it will undergo hormone treatment and surgical procedures such as genital reassignment, Adam’s apple reductions and breast implants to cultivate their feminine appearance. Kathoeys are (very) often indistinguishable from women and there are numerous tales of the unsuspecting westerner who hook up with a kathoey in the mistaken belief that their glamorous companion is female.

Frequently attracted to the entertainment, restaurant, retail and fashion trades, popular work for kathoey includes traditionally feminine occupations in cabarets and bar shows, hair & beauty salons, and fashion houses - or as prostitutes. Kathoeys are often extremely glamorous and wear stunning outfits. Many Thai singers, models and movie stars are kathoeys. There are several national beauty contests for kathoey, and the winners are often posted side-by-side with winners of female beauty pageants.

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2818 W: 85 N: 6957] (31629)
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