Though Thailand is home to arguably the largest population of transexuals (where they’re even considered a third gender), that doesn’t mean GLBTs are everyone’s favorite. Pride festivals get shut down; feminine-acting monks are reprimanded; gay clubs get raided; and trans-protections are yanked out of a re-drafted Constitution. But it’s easy to forget all that for the brief moments of the annual trans-only Miss Tiffany Universe, which on Saturday crowned 20-year-old Sorrawee Nattee its new reigning queen. And yes, this pageant has a swimsuit portion.
I don’t see this as inconsistent with institutional and cultural homophobia. These transexuals are pandering to a hetrosexual ideal about male/female dichotomy. A “third sex” embodies elements of both, ladyboys reject all maleness and embrace female. A homophobic society can handle that, not people who break gender rules.
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