flight crew

The Airline Purposefully Hiring Trans Women To Hand Out Peanuts + Pretzels

The new Thai airline P.C. Air isn’t just committed to getting you to where you need to be safely and on time. It also wants to make sure the flight attendants walking down the aisle represent the country’s trans community. The airline set a quota to ensure it would have trans staffers among its 30 new hires, and the company says it met its goal: three trans women are now part of the crew, alongside 17 cis-women and 10 men. That’s a 10 percent trans staff! Passengers have the best chance of recognizing Thanyarat “Film” Jiraphatpakorn (pictured), 23, winner of 2007’s trans beauty pageant Miss Tiffany. P.C. Air has purposefully been reaching out to trans job applicants, setting up shop in a Bangkok mall and encouraging members of the “third sex” to apply. Not that everybody will be so accommodating: So that MTF trans employees have fewer problems going through immigration, their name tags will be adorned with the “third sex” branding, because legally they are still considered men.

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  • alex

    This is wonderful.

  • Miss Understood

    It’s very common to see transgender people in everyday jobs in Thailand. I’ve gone to a mall and spotted 5 or 6 in the same place. While there is absolutely some amount of discrimination, it’s much milder in the US.

    Here in New York City there are a huge number of transsexuals. I rarely spot them in regular day jobs: restaurants, stores, banks, etc. One of my friends, who was extremely talented, pretty, and polite, did work at a Nars makeup counter. It took a lot of determination, she was turned down by one company after another. One manager had told her “we’d love to hire you but the people upstairs are very conservative”. Would he have said that to someone because of their race or ethnicity?

  • gina

    @Miss Understood:

    Not true. Trans women in Thailand, other than appearing in beauty pageants, night clubs and as shop girls are cut out of most parts of mainstream Thai life. They are unable to change their birth certificates, national ID cards and (should they chose) cannot marry men (or really even women). Moreover, other than a couple of locations (like Chiang Mai University), they are cut out of most higher education and specialty training opportunities.

    I don’t dispute there is profound and pervasive job discrimination against trans people in the US. But the reality is, there are trans people who are doctors, engineers, professors, scientists, and lawyers in this country… those don’t exist in Thailand. Thailand recently just officially banned the first film in that country made by a trans filmmaker. Please don’t mistake the Thai willingness to use trans women as situational window dressing as any form of legal or employment equality.

  • Stutz

    Yeah, don’t get too excited. Trans women have long been a particular cultural fetish in this part of the world, especially as entertainment. Don’t take it as an indication of modern, enlightened, liberal values in Thailand.

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