BY: SOOPAKORN SRISAKUL
There is a third gender, and in Thailand it is called “Kathoey”. It loosely translates as “Ladyboy”, the main difference between transgender women being that although Ladyboys often undergo “feminizing” medical procedures such as breast implants, silicone injections, and hormones, they still ground their identity in being male.
Kathoeys are more accepted in Thai culture than transgender women in the West, but still many curious onlookers judge by the tint of their own glasses. Humans are creatures of routine. The basic daily rituals that sustain us— eating, grooming, expelling waste— also unite us underneath the customizations we make to our appearance to feel at home in our bodies. Soopakorn Srisakul reminds us that we should never allow ourselves to become distracted by our own assumptions.
Photographer Soopakorn Srisakul has been dating a Kathoey call girl working in the infamous Nana district of Bangkok and writes:
“ If I have to tell their story it is this; they go out working, come back to their room, go relaxing outside, occasionally go back to visit family in the countryside, and then go to work. They, like anyone else, just try to get by. They laugh for joy, cry for sorrow, they work to earn a living, and they have an argument with their boyfriend, just like anyone else.”