Nancy (28) does Thai massage in Bangkok..Sometimes tourists demands a little more, the handjob..She didn't see this as prostitution. ..Kathoeys work in predominately female occupations, such as in shops, restaurants and beauty salons, but also in factories. Kathoeys also work in the entertainment sector and at tourist centers, cabarets. Kathoeys are more visible and more accepted in the Thai culture than transgender or transsexual people are in Western countries..This acceptance is due to the nature of the surrounding Buddhist culture, which places a high value on tolerance.
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.