What exactly is a Thai Katoey?
A Thai katoey or ladyboy is actually a transgender Thai male who lives his life as a woman. In Thailand, they’re also better known as phyuing prophet song which means “a second kind of woman”.

The history of katoeys dates as far back to WWII when the Thais entertained the soldiers in theatrical productions. At that time, Thai women were not allowed to perform in public so the men dressed up as ladies for the female roles.

Ladyboys have been an integral part of the Thai culture for centuries. The prevalent belief, until the beginning of the last century, was that there were 3 original sexes. Katoeys – The Third Sex, are not prejudiced against in Thai society mostly because it is a Buddhist country, and the essence of Buddhism is about tolerance.

More beautiful then a real Thai woman. Ladyboys have the perfect measurements and their beauty are the envy of many women. The men and the women are hypnotized and stare in awe. Katoeys are often identified at a young age and are considered to be born the third sex.

With well-paid work in Television or cabaret beckoning, Thai village families who used to send their daughters off to Bangkok to earn money for their families are now encouraging their sons to become Katoeys. A Thai television show or soap opera isn’t complete without a katoey or two. There are katoeys in most villages, and beauty contests for the most beautiful ladyboys in Thailand. Pagents are commonly held, drawing hundreds of patrons. The most extravagant ladyboy cabarets are the Miss Tiffany and Miss Alcazar. The Tiffany, Alcazar and Simon Cabaret shows draw hundreds of thousands of admirers from all over the world to see the extravagant Vegas type shows and so wholesome that they’re billed as family entertainment

IN 1996, a men’s volleyball team composed mostly of gays and katoeys won the Thai national championship, against all odds, and were portrayed in two Thai movies called Satree Lek and Satree Lek 2 (Iron Ladies and the sequal, Iron Ladies 2). Among the most famous katoey in Thailand is Nong Tum, a former champion Thai kickboxer who emerged into the public eye in 1998. Nong Tum went from champion kickboxer to being a transsexual and was portrayed in the movie Beautiful Boxer. In the later years in the ring, as a champion cross-dressing boxer, Tum would kiss his opponents on the cheek after reducing their ego to a bloody mess on the floor.

In 2004 Chiang Mai Technology school allocated a separate restroom for katoeys, with an intertwined male and female symbol on the door.

For many foreigners coming to Thailand, ladyboys (aka women of the send category) are one of the phenomena that puts the “amazing” in the slogan “Amazing Thailand”.