Every month we get a couple of emails from our readers in which they ask this question: “Why are there so many Ladyboys in Thailand?”
On the net you can find lots of explanations, most of them are complete nonsense. Like “What do they have in the water, that makes so many Ladyboys?”
The answer is rather simple. In fact, there are three reasons for the “Ladyboy-Phenomenon”.
In the following days I will give all three to you. Today, I will give you the second reason.
The religion reason
94 % of the Thai population are Theravada Buddhists. Together with Buddhism Thai people also believe Animism and Spirits a belief that is thousands of years old and had been there already before Buddhism came to Thailand.
Animism was believed in all over the world. Europa, America, Africa and of course Asia. In all of these ancient animist cultures a member of the “Third Sex” was someone special. Many of them where fortune tellers, shamans and highly spiritual people and therefore well respected.
Only when the monotheistic religions became more powerful, the animist belief lost their influence.
In the new religions, there was no place for a “Third Sex”.
Since Buddhism is not a theistic religion and most tolerant, the Buddhism did not overpower but mostly integrate the old animism. Also, in Buddhism there is no prohibition to a “Third Sex”.
Opal dressed like a nun during a religious festival in her village
So the animist culture with their dancing, spiritual transgender members became Buddhist and still kept the “Third Sex”.
In Thailand and there especially in the rural areas where the animist belief is still strong, modern Ladyboys are as much members of the religious community like everybody in their village too. In fact, many of the Ladyboys get even more involved in the daily religious life. They then of course behave like all the other females.
I found the information that “Buddhism is tolerant to Ladyboys” on many sites on the web. But this is only half of the truth.
Buddhism is tolerant to other religions, also to those that have transgender people as part of their spiritual community.
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