Photo by Shambles Work & Play
I *heart* Katoey (known in the West as Lady Boys). They are an integral part of Bangkok's Gay and Transsexual community. They are also known as Lady Boys. They can be very very convincing and beautiful. They are always look FIERCE! There are some grotty ones but they are mostly in the really horrible seedy bars, strip joints and ping pong bars (which I have actually been to -perhaps a post on that later tehehehe).
Quite a few Katheoy are sex workers or hostesses in bars. This has lead to a lot of Farang (foreign guys being wary about picking up Thai girls (a lot of Kathoey still have their manly bits - not always desirable for the heterosexual male). They can also be very aggressive and annoying with their advances. But so can the regular ol' Thai prostitutes. Apparently they are responsible for of a lot of the bag snatching and pick pocketing crime here too, taking advantage of the gross, rich farang that congregate here like weeds, slipping their wallets out of their pockets when they are sloppy drunk.
But like anything, these generalisations do not apply to everyone. This is why I think Katoey are awesome. They don't want to hit on me. They just want to chat about girly things. They usually speak awesome English so are great to chat to. They can give you a really interesting insight into gay culture within Bangkok.
It's quite refreshing to be in country where people are so accepting of GLBT people. Generally anyway. Kathoey are not quite accepted as just being run of the the mill gay. Fathers are apparently very disappointed if their sons become Kathoey. Which is pretty much as good as it gets for some guys in Australia. I find it strange sometimes that Thais are so accepting of transgender individuals but can be unbelievably racist (I will write something on this soon). I think it may be because most Thais are Buddhist and are therefor very accepting of other people's life choices.