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Transsexual Thai air hostesses
12th Mar, 2012 at 6:05pm
 

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With her crisp uniform, immaculate makeup and hair swept up, Mew looks like any other air hostess, but she's one of a handful of Thai transsexuals blazing a trail in the skies.

Fledgling Thailand-based carrier PC Air has hired four transgender cabin crew in a highly publicised recruitment drive that has divided opinion over whether the move is in the spirit of equality or exploitation.

"I like a job where I can show my ability and I love to wear beautiful suits," said Phuntakarn Sringern, better known by her nickname Mew, embarking Friday on the airline's first commercial flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong.

"This is just like my dream come true, and maybe this is a first step for transladies, transgenders, to have a good job in the future," the 25-year-old said.

In their neat black uniform and fiery orange scarves, Mew and her colleagues ushered passengers to their seats, demonstrated safety features and filled coffee cups - offering little indication that they were any different from the other air hostesses on the flight.

Some passengers, perhaps having seen PC Air's advertising, asked the transsexual cabin crew to pose for pictures with them, but many seemed unaware there was anything unusual about the flight attendants.

"Oh, I did not hear before about it," said Bay, a Thai passenger. "They look really beautiful, and they are really nice... it's pretty cool."

Thailand has a culture of tolerance on issues of sexual orientation and gender, and "katoeys", as transsexuals are known in the kingdom, are considered a "third sex" in their own right.

In spite of this, more conservative elements of society find it hard to accept, with some families sending their children to monasteries to be "re-educated" and transsexuals struggling to find work in many areas.

"In my heart, I always want to be a flight attendant but I was waiting for an opportunity," said air hostess Chayathisa Nakmai, aged 24. But until now "every airline is open only for men and women, transgender is not accepted".

PC Air's initiative is being welcomed by some activists, who applaud its efforts to offer a chance of ordinary work to transgender people.

The company "helps promote a positive image of Thai transsexuals, beyond certain stereotypes", said transgender advocate Prempreeda Pramoj Na Ayutthaya. But others are sceptical about the motives of the company, which has actively sought to publicise its recruitment drive.

"They use the zany, outrageous, bizarre side of transsexuals," said Yollada Krerkkong Suanyot, president of Thailand's TransFemale Association of Thailand.

"This emphasises the way that society has regarded these people as if they were strange, special, bizarre. Come see them, these are stewardesses!".

Buddhist Thailand is spared from the "weight of the Judeo-Christian sexual repression", but had in the past been influenced by some Western ideas that presented transsexuals as "mentally disordered", said Sam Winter, a psychologist and gender specialist at the University of Hong Kong.

The result is "a practical and bureaucratic intolerance" towards a group of nearly 180,000 people, he says.

With few avenues for employment, growing numbers of Thai transsexuals are moving into sex work as a way to make money and for a "rare chance to affirm their identity as women", said Winter.

Despite their sex change operation, the law does not recognise Mew, and her transsexual colleagues as women -- a situation that forces PC Air to contact the destination country in advance, to avoid trouble at immigration gates.

PC Air currently has three planes and will operate charter flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong and other Asian destinations.

The company's boss Peter Chan, who lent his initials to the airline, is proud of being a "pioneer".

He denies any intention to use the transsexual crews as a marketing ploy and highlights reasons of the "heart" and "human rights" to justify the policy.

"It was never about money," the eccentric 48-year-old told AFP, before embarking on a rendition of "My Way" by Frank Sinatra as if to prove his point.

The slogan is also painted on the company's aircraft: "I believe it's 'my way'".

Mew, who had sex change surgery two years ago, is now hoping that others will follow in the company's footsteps, in the air and elsewhere.

"Maybe in the future," she said, "all transladies, all transgenders could get a job like a flight attendant or be prime minister."






Transsexual Thai fight attendant


Transsexual fight attendant Phuntakarn Sringern (right) works onboard a Thai PC Air flight between Bangkok and Hong Kong. Fledgling Thailand-based carrier PC Air has hired four transgender cabin crew in a highly publicised recruitment drive that has divided opinion over whether the move is in the spirit of equality or exploitation.






Transsexual Thai fight attendants


PC Air transsexual flight attendants (Left to Right): Nathatai Sukkaset, 26, Dissanai Chitpraphachin, 24, Chayathisa Nakmai, 24, and, Phuntakarn Sringern, 24, pose for photographers in front of a PC Air plane at Surat Thani Airport, Thailand.

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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #1 - 12th Mar, 2012 at 6:30pm
 
That's it! - I'm not flying Thai airways anymore.
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #2 - 12th Mar, 2012 at 6:49pm
 
They didn't say that there are any transsexual flight attendants working on Thai Airways.
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #3 - 13th Mar, 2012 at 3:37am
 
Larb Dip wrote on 12th Mar, 2012 at 6:30pm:
That's it! - I'm not flying Thai airways anymore.


So you prefer to fly PC Air - the airline with the transsexual flight attendants?
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #4 - 14th Mar, 2012 at 10:18am
 
sex with the opposite sex i done, sex with an animal? illegal. sex with the same sex posing as another sex could be interesting afterall sex is sex right? ahahaha
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #5 - 15th Mar, 2012 at 6:00am
 
Can't tell if they men at all. Smiley
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #6 - 15th Mar, 2012 at 6:19am
 
The four women waving their hands on top of the page are real women.

But you are right, usually with transsexuals, you can't tell if they are men because they've gone through surgery to transform themselves from male into female - changing their appearance and even transform their genitals to females. In Thailand, the surgeons are very skilled in this field.

With a typical gay person, they look like a man because they still have their adam's apple.
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #7 - 15th Mar, 2012 at 12:28pm
 
They also has transsexual pageant in Thailand. Make me nervouse about dating Thai women. Never know what you going to get.  Wink
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #8 - 15th Mar, 2012 at 2:07pm
 
Yes, and these sorts of pageants can encourage other Thai men to be like them.

Dating Thai women should be okay, as long as you meet them through friends, relatives or anyone who knows them. If you meet them on your own in clubs and bars then it can be risky.
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #9 - 16th Mar, 2012 at 6:49am
 
No problem. I only like Lao women. In the U.S there's almost every nationality from all over the world here:)
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #10 - 29th Mar, 2012 at 5:28pm
 
llX wrote on 16th Mar, 2012 at 6:49am:
In the U.S there's almost every nationality from all over the world here:)


U.S. has the biggest gene pool to choose from. But its not just Thailand, other countries have transgender, Harisu from Korea was a kpop star. In popular Japanese anime there's Men cross dressing as a full-time job. I applaud PC-Air for creating more opportunities for the 3rd sex, sounds weird. U.S. still battling over gay marriage issue. It'll end up like a lot of issues, unresolved.
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #11 - 21st Apr, 2012 at 4:52am
 
Nasty!
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #12 - 21st Apr, 2012 at 9:44am
 
I'm going to invent a device that can tell whether someone is a real female or not and sell it in Thailand and become rich and retire.
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Re: Transsexual Thai air hostesses
Reply #13 - 23rd Apr, 2012 at 9:34pm
 
I want to be part of this invention Cheesy!

Buk Hoo Kee wrote on 21st Apr, 2012 at 9:44am:
I'm going to invent a device that can tell whether someone is a real female or not and sell it in Thailand and become rich and retire.

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