Thai and more specifically Bangkok transgender culture is something truly remarkable. US Aid reports that transgender individuals were recognized as part of the community back in the 1300s! During the 1800s, criminalization of homosexuality and other Western-inspired ideas made their way into the Asian country and trans culture suffered a severe blow. It wasn’t until WWII that the Thai LGBT community reemerged.
Thailand is Still Not Without Prejudice
Today, members of this community are still not safe from prejudice. The law does not acknowledge trans people, and homosexuality was against the law until 1956. If you are transgender in Thailand, you can’t change your sex on various ID forms legally. The government rejected a proposal to include sexual identity in the constitution’s anti-discrimination clause in 2007.
The Community Soldiers On
Despite the legal situation, there are still a very high number of transgender and gay people and in Thailand’s bigger cities. In rural Thailand, there is little to no acceptance of this community. Many Thai families neither accept nor understand their trans members’ identities and cut all ties with them. It’s hard for transgender people to get jobs in the country for the same reason. Religion has a lot to do with the problem. A lot of Thai people practice Theravada Buddhism, which is not necessarily accepting of Transgender people.
Bangkok: An Epicenter of the Trans Community
At the moment, the capital city is the epicenter of the community. Trans persons can work and lead normal lives in Bangkok and a few other big cities unlike in smaller populated areas, where the orientation remains taboo.
The capital is generally quite accepting of the community and trans dating in Bangkok is in its heyday. The transgender community has entire areas of the city that are dedicated to it. Ladyboy cabaret and other entertainment shows attract tourists like a magnet. Ladyboys are an acknowledged part of society here, and according to some sources, they have always been. Quite a few Thai monarchs throughout history were said to have had trans lovers.