I was surprised to find many “ladyboys” in Thailand… not just in bars but also on the streets… in shops etc. I wondered why they were in abundance here. At the airport I picked the book ‘Ladyboys’. It is a first person account of around 10 ladyboys. But first let me define “ladyboys”… they are men with a female mind… they generally have breasts due to implants or intake of estrogen hormone and a penis… a lot of them undergo a complete sex change operation to acquire breasts and a vagina. The only way to differentiate such ladyboys from women is through their voice (they shave off their Adam’s apple) or feet (they have large men’s feet) or ID cards (they are listed as ‘Mr’ on it.. but most of them carry fake IDs listing them as “Ms”).

Ladyboys consider themselves the “third gender”. They are discriminated against… currently they are fighting to be able to adopt “Ms”. If the law in Thailand becomes that flexible… legally ladyboys will be considered to be women. A lot of people consider ladyboys as psychologically challenged but according to the book they were born that way… like homosexuals. As kids they knew they wanted to be women. There are few job opportunities for them so most of them turn to prostitution to earn a fast buck… the ladyboys with penises generally tape them in such a way that it is difficult to see. A lot of men have slept with such ladyboys thinking they are women (not kidding). The ones without penises have also been in relationships with men without disclosing their past. If you have been to Thailand and slept with a women… there is a 50% chance she is a ladyboy.

At bars female prostitues wear white clothes and ladyboys wear black ones.

There are a few ladyboys who went on to achieve fame as boxer, air-hostess, ladyboys rights activists but such examples are few and far between.

When I read the book I was confused about my stand. I think homosexuals are normal… but ladyboys? If they are given the title of “Ms” that would not be fair. After all, they cannot give birth like women… or even orgasm (yeah… they give up enjoyment of sex to become women).

I am not ready to accept ladyboys as women… not so soon… I am not that open minded.