avoidance issues

How Trans Thai Kathoeys Escape Forced Military Service: Get Diagnosed With ‘Mental Disorder’

Just like the United States, MTF transgender Thais (known as kathoeys) don’t have the warm feelings about serving in the military, which is further complicated by the fact that Thailand has an involuntary annual draft lottery: “Genetically male, mentally female, they regard conscription as a threat to their very being. Buzzing off a kathoey’s long locks and forcing her to go soldiering in the sun, [says Prempreeda Pramoj Na Ayutthaya, a kathoey called to serve], is the cruelest of punishments. ‘No transgender would ever want to be in the army,’ Prempreeda said. ‘They’ll cut your hair off. They’ll destroy your femininity. You will do everything you can to avoid it.'” Here are ways to avoid it: get branded with “permanent insanity,” “mental disorder,” or “malformed chest” for taking hormones to develop breasts. So that seems reasonable.

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3 Comments

  • Nick Farben

    It’s a tricky one… She’s female identified so she should be exempt from having to do National Service altogether since women are not part of the draft.

    But it’s very very very unlikely that they would cut off her hair and make her wear pants if she’s been gender-reassigned. There are plenty of service women surely and there would be female uniforms and I doubt the women are asked to shaave their heads.

    Thailand is very very accepting of transgenders too, practically proud of them.

  • biguy

    love the ladyboys

  • gina

    @Nick Farben:

    Nick, no Thailand is not that understanding towards trans people. There is no, nil, zero way to legally change your gender in Thailand. They cannot change their ID, nor their birth certificates nor their passports nor work documents. There are a few mostly marginalized niches trans women occupy in Thailand and when they step out of those (hairdressing, shopgirl, drag entertainer, sex worker) they are little better than trans people in India or Pakistan.

    @Bigguy: Ladyboy is a term like shemale which was created by the sex industry. Thai trans women (when referring to themselves, not talking to foreigners) use the term Sao Prophet Song, which means second type woman. Likewise, kathoey basically translates to “effeminate boy” and is also an insulting term used in Thai society to belittle trans women and by foreigners as a term for sex workers.

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