Thai Ladyboys in Thailand

Thai Ladyboys are NOT ladies, ladyboys are NOT boys, they are NOT gay or homosexual in the accepted sense of those terms SO what are they?

This is another guest post by: I am Tweed, British by birth, Australian by Citizenship, Thai by choice.

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Overview of Thailand Ladyboys

Thai ladyboys ARE a unique set of people, with the term ladyboys also unique to Thailand. To quote a well- worn phrase from the past they are ‘a woman born in a man’s body’. They are friendly, loveable, delightful  companions, good friends, entertaining (if they so choose to be) and, above all in my mind, very brave. Why brave? Because by their very existence they have the courage to say to the world: “This is me, this is what I am. You can like me, even love me, make fun of me if it pleases you, smile at me or laugh at me BUT above all, try to understand me and, if at all possible, accept me.”

I have yet to meet anyone who seriously dislikes Thai ladyboys, apart maybe from occasional tourists who, through their own personal ignorance, know nothing about the Thai ladyboy culture. One can only ignore them and feel sorry for their loss because not knowing Thai ladyboys is a gap in one’s life.

Thailand Ladyboys are generally well respected

In Thailand ladyboys are respected and admired, they appear not just in Cabaret but in almost every sitcom on TV and talent shows (such as Thailand’s Got Talent) accept, admire and applaud very talented Thai ladyboys. Yes, there are some Thailand ladyboys who do not quite fit the pretty girl mode or who are a little older or larger than others. You will find them also quite talented and providing comic relief in Cabaret. In one show I went to, the overweight comedienne received a lot more tips than any other Thailand ladyboy in the show – talent will always shine or as one of my vulgar friends said, “ Talent beats tits any day.” It is true.


For the really pretty Thai ladyboys you will see everything from lovely to astoundingly beautiful. Outside of the entertainment world, living real lives, with a husband or boyfriend you may also recognize Thailand ladyboys – but not easily. They have adapted to the role of the lady magnificently – no outrageous hairdos, no exotic make up, no way out wardrobe. I made friends with a waitress who, in every sense of the word, was a real lady. To this day I find it hard to believe she is a Thailand ladyboy.

You will notice I used the pronoun ‘she’. This is right and proper, they live as ladies, they must be treated as ladies and respected in the same way you would any other lady. They will always respond to you in speech in the feminine form, just as it should be.

It is for these reasons that so many people find it easier to socialize with ladyboys rather than gays. With Thailand ladyboys there is no doubt that you treat them and respond to them in every way as though they were a lady. With gays you cannot always be sure whether the guy (or girl) plays the male or female role in their lives. Of course, there are many gays who are quite happy it seems to be either.

How much of a lady is a Thai ladyboy? When did they become ladyboys? Where will you find ladyboys?

The last question is the easiest to answer. You will find Thai ladyboys in all walks of life, all over the world = but with different labels.  Men, posing as women, is not new. All through history there have been examples of men dressing up. In 17th Century England boys with feminine traits were required to play all female roles on the Shakespearean stage. Shakespeare even had a girl play a man’s part (Merchant of Venice). The spy industry is filled with stories of cross dressing.

The Ancient Greeks may not have invented dressing across genders but they certainly enjoyed it. As for the Gay side of life, there are more historically gay figures than you can poke a dick at (sorry could not resist the paraphrase). Alexander the Great and some of the Caesars for example. There have even been Gay Kings. Let us return to the topic at hand – Thailand ladyboys.

When did they become ladyboys and just how much of a lady are they?

These two themes need to be addressed together. I guess a Thai ladyboy, just like a gay, was born with the gene make up and the inherent desire to be different. At a very early age they may have shown uncommon interest in dressing up and making up.

By the age of 8 this playing at being a girl becomes a passion even an obsession. By the age of 12 they will have exhibited sufficient behaviors or traits for intelligent people, especially parents, to realize this child is different. I have read of some parents who, understanding their child, started them on hormone treatment as early as 13 years old.

Feminine behavior in young boys is not frowned upon In Thailand and indeed they are encouraged to express themselves freely. No one tries to beat it out of them or force them to play men’s sports in a futile effort to ‘butch’ them up.

As they grow older ladyboys are constantly making life changing decisions. Only hormones? Minor surgery? Major surgery? None of these? They must decide whether dressing up and make up is enough for them or do they have to go a step further?

Hormones to reduce body hair and develop their breasts, maybe implants for bigger breasts and if the need is great and the money available visits to a psychiatrist before the final all-encompassing surgical change.

Whatever stage they are in, whatever life they choose to lead Thai ladyboys all have one thing in common – they are an utterly delightful, caring, compassionate and important part of Thai Culture. ALL businesses in Bangkok would be lost without them, they are great waitresses, bank tellers, pharmacy assistants, sales personnel, office administrators and now one has made it to the big screen, starring in a major feature film. To meet up with Thai ladyboys check out some of the famous gay Thai dating sites.

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