The Third Gender
Born with a body that does not correspond to the deepest feelings of its owner does not have to be a sentence to a life of grief. Being a man, a woman, or have a third gender that does not fit the strictest definition is increasingly an option. In Thailand, every year, thousands of people undergo sex change surgeries, mostly men looking to have a woman's body. To the best clinics in the world come mainly Americans, Australians, Italians and Chinese. Few Thais have money to enter these clinics, getting up by public hospitals, subject to the conditions and taking hormones that you can buy at any drugstore or market of Bangkok.
For many transgender people, the process is lengthy and features that are visible denounce: the Adam's apple, hands, voice. At the Golden Dome Cabaret Show, the four cabaret shows and more than 200 spectators a day help 37 "ladyboys" or, in Thai, "kathoey" - women who still hold the penis - who work there to earn enough money to become complete women.
Nana Plaza, Pat Pong and Soi Cowboy areas are full of prostitution bars, where these "ladyboys" will satisfy the fantasies of many foreigners clients so that they can pay their final operation, finish school and send money to their families. The offer is immense, in every bar work dozens of "ladyboys", many of them still teenagers, and groups that control them leave no room for slovenly or loss. To escape these tight rules, many choose to work in the street.
Despite the tolerance of Thailand in relation to transsexuals, and this third gender, "ladyboys" are intended only for sex and entertainment professions, contributing to tourism in the country. And for the high numbers of HIV: about 450 000 infected in 2013, according to the Ministry of Public Health.