The Ladyboy Phenomenon In Bangkok And Thailand
‘What is a Ladyboy, anyway?’ some might say, but if you have been to Thailand before the chances are you already know the answer. Whether it’s from watching the extravagant dancing beauties in a cabaret show or even from a personal encounter, a ladyboy has many different names and guises: katoey, transgender, transvestite or cross-dresser – someone who is so feminine on every level that it becomes almost impossible to differentiate a ladyboy from a real girl. Of course, we don’t mean the obviously masculine-looking ones but the really pretty ones; those who work for airlines, at cosmetic counters in upmarket shopping malls, as stars of cabaret shows or even television celebrities.
‘Katoeys’ are very well integrated into Thai life and no-one looks down on them… some girls are even a little envious of their perfect feminine figures and faces… In many cases, it reaches the point where anyone could be fooled. So how can you tell? How do you make sure that your pretty new girlfriend isn’t really… a dude!?
Of course many girls in Thailand would tick some of the boxes below, but very few would actually tick them all!
- Too Tall:
Generally Thai girls are not very tall, but almost all katoeys are taller than average, with heights of 180cm not being unusual.
- Too Feminine:
Look at the way she uses make up, the way she walks and moves her arms or hands, especially over-enthusiastic hair flicking… no real girl would need to act this way at every moment, like she is walking on a constant catwalk.
- Overacts and Overreacts a lot:
Way more than necessary, often loudly in a high-pitched, exaggerated voice. It gets even worse in a conflict. Certainly, don’t ever pick a fight with a ladyboy – you can’t be sure of the outcome!
- Too Large Breasts:
This again is not an absolute rule but too big and often provocative is a good indicator. They often cheerfully invite you to check ‘how real they feel’… it’s more a question of appreciating their financial investment.
- No Bra!
This is always interesting – In Thailand, no matter how small the breast and how open-minded a girl is, even in gogo bars, girls always wear a bra! If she doesn’t, especially when combined with points 1 and 4, you are probably talking to a katoey.
- The Voice:
In the majority of the cases, voices – even trained voices – are still what gives many katoeys away. The pitch might be higher than men’s voices but it somehow sounds unnatural.
- Adam’s Apple:
This is a tricky one as Adam’s Apples can be surgically removed, but if she has one, you can call her ‘sir’.
- The Dress Code:
Just like the overacting, the way a ladyboy dresses is usually a lot sexier than most girls. Add a generous amount of make up, feathers and glitter and you get a girl that has become so feminine and flamboyant that things start to get suspicious.
- The Elbows:
One of the most unclear indicators, supposedly men’s elbows are more square than a girl’s.
- The Final Check:
The ID card – no matter how feminine you are or if you use the ladies bathroom, even after a sex reassignment surgery, your ID will still show your real gender.