The polite term for katoey in Thai literally translates to “third gender.” Thai has no gendered pronouns, but when Thais refer to ladyboys and toms in English, they consistently used “her” and “him” respectively in such a natural way it seems to reflect the way they think of the people rather than an effort towards political correctness. Common knowledge has it that toms only pleasure their dees and never let them see their own vaginas, although I never had the guts to verify this.
Maybe it’s because Thais do, to a large extent, consider ladyboys women and toms men, but neither men who date ladyboys nor women who date toms are considered “gay.” Anecdotally, it seems that ladyboys don’t date ladyboys and toms don’t date toms. Men who date men have only begun emerging in the last 10 to 15 years.
Ladyboys are men who dress as women and toms are women who dress as men. In Thailand not use the word “lesbian.” Me: In the U. Toms take dees shopping, carry their purses, and walk around holding their hands.
To say either group identifies as “men” or “women” would oversimplify the issue. Holding hands is not even a common practice among heterosexual couples in Thai society, as they keep public displays of affection to a bare minimum.
You might also learn another useful phrase if you want to ask her if she has already been undergoing a genital reassignment surgery: “kun tam sàláyá-gaam bplɛɛng pɛ̂ɛt rʉ̆ʉ yang” (คุณทำศัลยกรรมแปลงเพศหรือยัง).
If she answers “tam lɛ́ɛo” (ทำแล้ว) it means she has done the surgery (literally: do already) and if she goes “yang mâi dâai tam” (ยังไม่ได้ทำ) it means she hasn’t (literally: yet not done).
Like this you avoid facing a dick instead of a pussy (if you do try to avoid it).
If you do decide to give the supposedly world’s most beautiful transvestites a try, you might be unsure about how you go about arranging your date, how much it costs (if at all) and which risks are involved in banging a Thai ladyboy.
In Thailand there are a lot of ladyboys, or katoey, and toms, as in “tomboy.” Without official data, the only way I can describe this is to say that, at least in the big cities, it’s noticeably common; you see them everywhere, even portrayed in popular media. Lesbians there have a big problem.” One available but confining category for lesbians in Thailand is called “dee,” as in “lady.” Dees dress extra-feminine, wear makeup and heels, and carry handbags.
Ladyboys are more common than toms, who have appeared on the scene more recently. A relationship between a tom and a dee involves a kind of hyper-hetero role-play in which toms provide for and tend to their dees.
When I asked about this, Thais looked at me like I was crazy or stupid. Although fairly well-accepted by general society, gay men still face difficulty because pleasing one’s parents is of paramount importance in Thailand, and the pressure to have children continues.
I spoke to Pang, a woman in a relationship with a tom, and we had the following conversation: Me: Do toms ever date toms? I heard many stories of men who date men when they are young, but who eventually marry a woman and have children. Also married men will have a ladyboy on the side as the gik [mistress].” She explained that when a straight man dates a ladyboy she acts as a sort of sugar mama, paying for everything for the man.