Hi Liz, and Vecca
I used to spend a fair bit of time in Thailand around the late 1980s, so I’m probably out of date as usual. I was ‘in between’ jobs, and could spend months at a time there, usually on Koh Samui or Koh Phangnan. My friend had a bar on Samui. I got to know a few Katoey (Kat – oy – ee), one quite well.
In terms of acceptance, well its better than most places, at arms length. BUT they’ve put themselves outside ‘normal’ life and wouldn’t easily be accepted in main stream middle class society there (sorry, that’s a blunt way of putting it).
Most people in Thailand are poor, especially true if you’re from the provinces, where surviving is the aim of the game. You can’t afford operations and the like to transition if that’s your chosen path.
The Katoeys you will come across in the cities or tourist areas have often bailed out from the north, or the villages in search of an easier life and head for where the money is. Just join the dots as to where that might lead.
My friend K, she’d been round the block so to speak, and still hadn’t transitioned physically down below. She had a good life at the time (she was a stunner – it was sometimes a struggle to maintain a platonic relationship.) She had friends visit from the first world, and every once in a while, a german impressario would assemble a group and whisk them off to Germany for a tour of ladyboy revues, so she got around.
There was one problem, although thais would disagree with me. There’s a concept in Thailand called ‘sanuk’ (rhymes with ‘look’). Sanuk translates roughly as ‘having a good time’ and is just a given attitude, everyone there knows sanuk. So K would sometimes get through her cash, and be hard up – enough so that my bar tab would become hers too!
But she was a good soul – I didn’t mind really. It’s 30 years on. I never stayed in touch. Her ‘dream’ was to transition, and get a German passport. Bless her, I hope she made it.
- This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by Marti. Reason: typos