7 Reasons why Ladyboys are so Prevalent in Thailand

4 min readMay 11, 2019

When looking for an exotic vacation, one of the countries that comes to mind most often is Thailand. This Asian country has a lot to offer for its guests: its abundance of magnificent temples with gigantic statues of the Buddha, the natural resources available for everyone to explore, their jaw-dropping beaches, famous cuisine and street food, and its reputation as a shopping haven for bargain lovers, among so many others.

But just like any other country, Thailand also has a side that others might consider seedy. Researching or reading about the country, there’s a huge chance you might encounter the word “kathoey”, which they use to refer to transgenders, better known as “ladyboys”. Thailand’s ladyboys are actually famous all over the world and many travelers go to Thailand specifically to meet them.

Ladyboys have been around in Thailand for a long time and it’s quite a bit surprising that they continue to be so prevalent, despite the negative stigma associated with them. In fact, they are actually considered as part of the Thai culture. There are so many reasons why ladyboys continue to thrive, and here are some of them:

1: Thailand is much more open and accepting when it comes to matters involving LGBTs.

Unlike other countries, those belonging to the LGBT community in Thailand experience so much freedom because their society is much more tolerant. This is in contrast to Muslim countries where being a member of the third sex is a punishable offense, being one in Thailand doesn’t matter at all. Because they are free to express themselves, they are much more visible to everyone else, or as they say, they are “out and proud”. Of course, there are still a few locals who frown upon the LGBTs but they are mostly confined to the rural areas.

2: Gender reassignment surgeries and other similar procedures are rampant in Thailand.

As well as holiday tourism, Thailand is also known for its medical tourism, particularly those that revolve around gender reassignment. Thai people have easy access to these procedures so many Thai trans-men choose to undergo them and become full ladyboys instead of just dressing up as women. Accessibility and a relatively low cost makes it easy for men to become ladyboys so many take…


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