Ladyboy: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Term

If you’ve ever heard someone describe their trip to Thailand, they likely told you about the food, the beaches, Buddhism, elephants, and perhaps they’ve also mentioned, with a wink, going to a bar to meet a “ladyboy.” Yet why has Thailand become so inextricably linked with the term “ladyboy,” and what does it mean? To many transgender people, “ladyboy” is seen as exclusively pejorative. While living as a transgender woman in the United States, I avoided using the term and admonished anyone who used it. Yet now that I am living in Thailand and studying Thai culture and language, I’ve…