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Published: January 27th 2012
The world fist introduced me to transsexuals when I was eighteen years old watching Alan Partridge. I did not understand the term ‘lady-boy’ or ‘chick-boy’ so I asked Google. I have laughed along at that particular episode which is one of my favourites but never truly grasped what a lady-boy is or does as I have not taken the time to consider it. There is a lot of misunderstanding, even myself am confused as to what is what with all the lingo; I have been told it is not necessarily the same as a transvestite who gets dressed in the opposite genders clothing but is in fact a man, who has male bits but also has breast augmentation and dresses like a female and some may make a living out of it and maybe even go so far as a full sex change. This of course is dependent on the choice of the individual. The Bangkok chick-boys, as Partridge so classily refers to them as, are infamous and a huge part of the lively culture within Bangkok. If I have misunderstood then please put this down to my sheer ignorance.
Natalie, it’s her again – the one who took
me to the boxing, decided to go to a show called Calypso famous for its formidable lady-boys and transvestites. We arrived to a lounge area with seats all facing the stage but with tables between us. We ordered three gin and tonics, Rachel a new dorm mate had been convinced to come along as soon as we told her where we were going. The three of us sat, ignorant of what to expect but excited. I remember the hour and half show as a blurr of colour, music, jokes and fun. The ladies don’t all take themselves seriously yet they all seemed to enjoy being on stage out-performing one another. There were clear favourites who were shown much more often as the leads in performances or had the stage to themselves often. One in particular transvestite stood out; glamorous, thrilling, funny and a great showman. I do not know any of their names but she is in the pictures dressed as the Geisha. She took a liking to a young white man at the front of the audience and planted a great big red kiss on his cheek to the delight of his girlfriend who watched as he squirmed in
I am oblivious to this lifestyle choice and only started to ponder it when I saw what I did. Men with incredible breasts in beautiful dresses and wigs who were stunning and I was unable to really tell if they were a man or a woman. Personally I don’t mind how people choose to live their lives sexually, unless it is immoral or forcefully inflicted upon others in which case I might have something to say, but transsexuals, transvestites or lady boys have never registered on my radar because I rarely see it and don’t think it’s an issue for me. But these women were beautiful, yet I knew anatomically they were not women. They had breast implants, hip implants, cheek implants, and anything else done to then to give them curves or look more womanly. In the light after the show it was clear in some more than others how far they had gone to completely hide their gender at birth. It got me thinking about the pain these individuals might have felt in their lifetime previous to taking to the stage. How did these incredible individuals make the decision to do what they did to
their body. Thai culture can be very austere, just as it is in the rest of the world and it’s sad to imagine these young people might have been rejected by family or friends because of the choices they have had to make to ultimately make themselves happier. How much prejudice do they suffer daily? I write this as someone who has not had to deal with those huge personal decisions about sexuality so am unable to identify, so I apologise now if I come across as grossly ignorant or offensive.
Still, I have a lot of respect for each of them, knowing huge decisions and losses will have been made in their lives. They were all wonderful to watch as they danced or mimed or sang on stage. It gave me pleasure to see they enjoyed the limelight observing them as they stared in to the darkness of the audience as the light shone upon them in their ‘moment’. The costumes were fantastic, the dancing was great and some of the girls were incredible. Regardless of the size of their feet, hands, hips, or breasts, as actors and dancers they were great to see.
shall leave you with the episode of Alan Partridge I mentioned at the beginning:
Alan: You ever been to the far east, Michael?
Michael: Well, only Manilla, Hong Kong and Bangkok, like.
Alan: Erm, so what did you see in Bangkok?
Michael: Oh I saw the Golden Temple, man. Beautiful, it was.
Alan: Yeah, what else?
Michael: Er, well there was the river market, like. All the little boats come up and they’ve got all the fresh produce on them, and –
Alan: Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael. Come on, tell me about the ladyboys.
Michael: Oh, you mean those transsexuals? Aye, I seen them, but, you know, they’re disgusting I kept away from them.
Alan: Oh God, yeah, yeah. Fascinating creatures, though. Looks like a lady, but really it’s a man. I don’t find them attractive, it’s just confusing. I don’t suppose you’ve got any army stories about them?
Michael: I did hear about this corporal, right?
Michael: And he’s in the third battalion this lad, but he’s
right mean, OK? And he goes out in
Bangkok, right? And all the prostitutes is comin’ up and saying "How much?", and he’s going
"Oh I’m not paying that", right? And then this beautiful lassie comes up –
Michael: – she’s gorgeous, man. And she’s half the price of the others. And they’re getting
down to it –
Michael: – he puts his hand up her skirt, gets a hold of the old meat and two veg, right?
Thinks, hang on, I’ve paid my money, I’m going to have something, so he flips him over,
and he fu-...
Michael: And funnily enough, it lands on its wheels, and it starts first time and they just drive
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