by Richard Totman - £12.00 Souvenir Press Ltd (2014)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780285642591 | ISBN 10: 0285642596
Why are there so many ladyboys in Thailand and so few in the Western world?
The ladyboy cabarets of Thailand are a leading tourist attraction but the glamorous and attractive men who are now women are a modern expression of an archaic tradition. The kathoey, the Thai term for ladyboys, have long been part of the cultural landscape of Thailand.
Who are the ladyboys? Richard Totman introduces us to three individuals who started life as boys but while at school decided to become kathoey. We follow their rites-of-passage as they become fully fledged kathoey and their divergent adult lives are witness to attitudes towards trans-gender in Thailand and in the Western world. This perceptive, accessible guide to the cultural, historical, religious, biological and psychological aspects of trans-gender places these lives in context.
The description of the kathoey is part of a wider discussion on trans-gender. ‘Third sex’ groups form part of many ancient communities, originating in beliefs that pre-date doctrinaire religions. Some religions, such as Buddhism, embrace trans-gendered individuals but the role of other religions has led to persecution and repression. Many communities accept a ‘third sex’, from Thailand and Samoa to American Indians and the Phillippines. Only in the West has savage repression occurred.
(Price & availability last checked: January 2015)