Just very recently I have been interviewed by two journalists who wanted to hear my opinion about different topics connected with ladyboy life in Thailand. Of course I was happy to help them, as telling how we really are is the major reason for publishing this weblog. Some of their questions also targeted the issue of transgender sex workers in Thailand and while preparing myself for the interview I spend also some thought this:
Of course, Thailand has still it`s reputation for attracting sex tourists, though a lot of effort has been spend by the concerned agencies to get rid of that image, but I am not so sure if this can be done that easily if ever. Still, it`s a matter of fact that the incomes of those who worked in that business in the tourist areas of Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and others, contributed a lot to the improvements in Thailand`s rural areas. Nevertheless it is clear that the life of a sex worker is certainly everything but easy and fun.
As I mentioned in several other posts before, I know about a dozen ladyboy sex workers and some of them I even would call my friends though with some reservations. That way I got a lot of insights into their “working life” - sometimes even deeper than I wished I had.
For them there are two ways of getting in touch with their potential suitors. Going to clubs and pubs, getting a drink and after some eye contact walk up to the men, address them and try to get into some small talk. After something like a conversation (most of them have very limited knowledge of the English language) they will ask them rather direct if they want to have sex with them. As far as I know the fact, that they are not born girls is seldom revealed at that point of time. I am not sure how and when they tell it but somehow it has to be done. I could not imagine to go to a guy`s room and only there tell him about myself. That can end up in pretty dangerous situations.
I know that not so few bars and clubs in Bangkok don`t allow ladyboys to enter as they had bad experiences of ladyboys pushing themselves to obscene and aggressive on male guests which might give the shop a bad reputation. Fortunately, that restriction has never been applied on me. Good for them because I would give them a rather big scene. Also I guess that the bouncers know me and know that I am harmless (at least I hope so).
The other alternative for transsexual sex workers is to address men on the street. Just a couple of days ago I sat down on a table set up on the street where ladyboy prostitutes gathered and watched the men walking past. I sat down because they invited me and I had nothing better to do. For me there is no question that this way of getting in contact with customers is much harder and much more humiliating. It was hard to see how these nice dressed girls would start from that table and talk to even the ugliest, oldest and drunken men, walked some meters with them and after getting half a dozen rejections to their offered services they would turn away and try their luck with another man. The worst thing to see was, when groups of three or four young drunken westerners started to make fun of them, touching them like pieces of meat and insulting them in the middle of the road. It was then that I decided to leave as that scene started to get me sad.
Some of them endure this live for many years already. Just on that day I asked one of them for her name as we just had a nodding acquaintance together before. When she told it to me I remember having met her already four years ago. Since then her appearance as suffered a lot and she seems to have aged at least the double. Also her nose looks like it had been broken which it did not at the time we met first. As mentioned above: You can get in dangerous situations.
Of course such a long time in that business does not leave your heart and soul untouched. When I sat on their table that night the whole language they used was strongly obscene. Once in a while I like to talk that lewd ladyboy language in Thai for fun but they are using it as the usual way to communicate. It`s easy to imagine what kind of impression this will leave on other Thai people as the Thai language is in fact overflowing of politeness and discretion.
Also, they weren`t shy to flash their boobs and even show their lower parts in the middle of the road. A behavior that I know from other drunken ladyboys but yet I can`t stand it as it embarrasses me. Call me prude but I can`t appreciate that.
When they started to touch my boobs I made my excuses and left.
It´s obvious that it had been their tough environment that made them that way and I wonder how they can take that night after night after night. It makes it quite traceable why so many of those ladyboy slip into taking drugs and stealing. Nevertheless it´s useless to try to blame someone directly for that as it had been their choice. Still, too many ladyboys in Thailand and transgender people around the world are pushed into prostitution to make a living because they are not accepted in other jobs.
If there would be improvement, sure fewer ladyboys would accept sex work as their profession.
Technorati: sex work prostitution ladyboy ladyboys thai Thailand Bangkok katoey kathoey katoy transsexual transgender