New Thai Airline Recruits ‘Ladyboys’ as Air Hostesses

A new Thai airline has recruited transsexuals as air hostesses, in a pioneering move it believes will be copied by other carriers, to promote equal opportunities for what is dubbed the “third sex” in Thailand.

Thailand has one of the world's largest transsexual, or "third sex" populations, and its surgeons have achieved a global reputation for providing relatively affordable, easily accessible sex change operations. Photo: Anjum Malkana/Flickr

A newly formed carrier in Thailand, has hired 6 transgender people as flight attendants to promote equal opportunities for the “3rd sex’ in Southeast Asia, according to The Daily Telegraph (UK).

Peter Chang, the President of the new airline named PC Air, congratulated himself on the groundbreaking move thusly: “I think these people can have many careers – not just in the entertainment business – and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess.”

“I just made their dream come true. Our society has changed. It’s evolution. I’m a pioneer and I’m sure there will be other organizations following my idea,” he added.

Over 100 transsexual people applied for the positions, and the airline’s boss says that more are expected to be hired. The carrier is also hiring non-transsexuals.

Thailand has one of the biggest populations of ‘kathoey’ in the world. This term refers to a male-to-female transgender person, or an effeminate gay male.

The figure comes as doctors in the country have achieved a global reputation for providing relatively affordable, easily accessible sex change operations.

Many “katoeys” do not undergo sex change operations, either because of the expense or possible medical complications. But they dress as women, often taking birth control pills to reduce facial hair and grow breasts.

However, transsexuals weren’t the only people hired in flight attendant positions for the company. President Peter Chan says that he believes these people can have several careers and not just in the entertainment industry.

Many of them have dreams to be flight attendants, he continued, and he’s made those dreams come true. Society has changed, evolved, he explained, and he is a pioneer that is sure other organizations will follow his idea.

It isn’t mandatory that applicants go through a sex change to be considered for the job, he noted. The important thing, he added, is that they have the necessary language skills and can give good service.

One of the few transgender applicants they chose is 23-year-old Thanyarat ‘Film’ Jiraphatpakorn, who won the Miss Tiffany beauty pageant in 2007. She is ecstatic to have the job, saying that “at first I thought they would just take applications but not actually recruit us, as happened at other places before.”

The transgender staff will wear special gold-coloured ‘third sex’ name badges to help other PC Air staff and travelers identify their gender. The airline isn’t operating flights yet, but hopes to be in service by April. [PC Air via The Telegraph (UK), Huff Post and NY Daily News]

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