Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan wades into the Culture Wars with a discussion of what is now commonly known as “trans”.
A note from the author on the photo below: “Both people are reporting for the draft, but the monk has a much better chance of having to serve. (Shows in their faces.)”
The dark truth about gender equality
by H. Numan
Gentle men and women, can you keep your nutcases under control, please? I can’t really write men and women anymore. How should I address you? Beloved comrades of the Gates? Dear readers? Your social justice warriors (or whiners, as I see them) are spreading with gusto and enthusiasm to Europe. Amsterdam and the Dutch Railways NS will no longer use proper genders, as it might offend some seriously disturbed people. Men who think they are women and vice versa.
Amsterdam also wants to ban smoking in its entirety within the city, while we are at it.
To start with the latter, I merely have one simple question: tobacco is a huge cash cow for any government. Do you honestly believe your government will simply forgo that enormous source of income? If smoking is banned, are you going to pay it? If you, activist non smoker, don’t want to pay it, who should? The (now ex) smokers have stopped, as you desired. They can’t afford it anymore. It’s your turn, or do you really think it works any differently?
Now back to the gender-benders. I happen to live in one of the few countries on earth with a fairly substantial percentage of ‘kathoeys’ as we call them or ladyboys. Men who feel they should have been born women, or women who feel they should be born as men. Mainly men, though. Very few women. I’ve met quite a few here in my 25 years in Thailand, and I’m still mystified by them.
Many of them begin to notice their different feelings in high school. They very often dress as girls, which means wearing girls’ uniforms in school or university. In Thailand everyone in the educational system wears a uniform. Red in preschool, khaki in primary school, blue in high school and black on universities. Girls wear skirts, boys trousers. You are probably amazed to hear that points for good behavior are also given on universities. Berkeley activists very likely wouldn’t be able to graduate from a Thai university… However, ladyboys are allowed to wear skirts in most universities and a lot of high schools.
Some schools set up ‘third gender’ bathrooms, if the number of ladyboys is high enough to warrant the extra cost. Thais are fairly easy going with regard to sexuality. Don’t get me wrong — boinking in the streets is a definite no-no. Showing affection in public is also frowned upon. Kissing in public for example, is something not really done here. Whatever you do, you do it in private.
Thailand is a Buddhist country, with no real monotheistic stigma on sex. If you’re hungry, you eat. If you’re thirsty, you drink. If you feel randy, well … Fill in the blanks. But not in public! Most boys loose their virginity in brothels, where they are taken by their peers. On one hand, Thais are very prudish, much more so than in the West. On the other hand, anything goes. It never ceases to amaze me.
Living together as a gay couple is completely normal here. But not legally married. My Dutch marriage is not valid in Thailand. Funnily enough, about half the residents of my condominium live together. Nobody blinks an eye. There is talk about legalizing gay marriage, but there is also talk about legalizing marijuana or building the Kra canal. Don’t hold your breath, though.
Parents aren’t exactly thrilled with joy if their son decides he’d rather be a girl, and starts acting as one. But mostly they go along with it. Nor are their peers very sympathetic. Teasing and bullying happen a lot. That’s why ladyboys often stick together, and probably one reason why there are so many in Thailand. The older ladyboys get the hormones the younger ones want but cannot buy in the pharmacy due to the age limit. The pill is only available for 16 and over.
Now the darker side of the story. If you’re young you are immortal. Death is somewhere far, far away in the future. Other people die. Not you. Same goes for beauty. Beauty eventually fades away. No matter what you do. Most of us accept that fact, but it is something extremely difficult for kathoeys to accept. Not surprisingly, the suicide rate is unbelievably high amongst them.