Kafille is 6 years old. His mother had noticed since he was 3 years old, he already behaved as a little girl, showing signs of being feminine. His older brother, Aekachai, 23, is a ladyboy, and Kafille was definitely influenced by him..As her mother said: "we can't do anything, he has to follow his heart and has to live his life the way he wants to"
Although the terms "kathoey" or "ladyboy" are rather ambiguous, simply put, both terms refer to a male who dresses as and adopts the mannerisms and identity of a woman. Though the term is often translated as "transgender", transgender is rarely used in Thailand. Instead Thais use the term kathoey. This term can now also be used to refer to any male homosexual and was originally used to refer to intersex people. Due to this term becoming so broad, many choose to use the English word to explain a homosexual male dressing as a woman as a "ladyboy". The term can also be meant as an insult, especially to those who are trying to alter their identity. Ladyboys suggest that they are still men who are merely dressed as women. The term is used rather loosely at times and can be used to refer to any male who possesses feminine qualities. Personally most of kathoeys prefer to call themselves "a transformed goddess" or "a second type of woman".
Kathoeys are numerous in Thailand and are seemingly accepted by society, not only in the cities but in the countryside as well. Thai Buddhism does not specifically regard homosexuality as a sin and has no specific prohibitions regarding the lifestyle. However, acceptance of kathoeys is still grudging in many corners of Thai society. Katheoy have not yet attained equal status with those who are not transgender, and restrictions come with the identity. Katheoy cannot officially change their birth sex on birth certificates or passports, meaning they cannot marry someone of the same sex (even if they identify with a different gender). © Jean-Michel Clajot © Jean-Michel Clajot