The Kathoey, Thailand's Ladyboys, have long been part of Thailand's cultural landscape. Richard Totman introduces three ladyboys, and follows their development towards becoming fully fledged kathoey. Placing their lives in the context of the cultural, historical, religious, biological and psychological aspects of trans-gender. The kathoey serve as part of a wider discussion on trans-gender, and the presence of 'third-sex' groups in many ancient communities, originating in beliefs that pre-date doctrinaire religion. If the existence of a 'third sex' is a universal norm, is Western society repressed while the Thais represent a norm in nature?
Gender studies, gender groups