Regina And The Ladyboys of Bangkok

This post originally appeared on Nomadic Boys.

Bangkok is one of our favourite gay-friendly destinations in Asia.

It’s got an excellent gay scene, particularly the gay bars of Silom Soi 4 and the drag queen shows at clubs like DJ Station:

Thailand is also well known for its ladyboys, a Thai term to that refers to either a transgender woman or an effeminate gay men. On our recent trip to Silom we befriended a sexy and glamorous ladyboy named Regina, who told us about her life as a shemale and about the ladyboys of Bangkok and in Asia. This is her story.

Hi Regina, please introduce yourself.


My name is Regina, I’m 33 years old from the Iloilo City in the Philippines. I’m a freelance hairdresser and makeup artist and I frequently come to Bangkok for shopping, beauty enhancements or beauty treatments.

Are you ok with us using the word “ladyboy”, or is there a better word you like people to use?

Transsexual or trans-gender are the formal words used, but I prefer ‘shemale’ as that is how others generally address us in Asia. ‘Ladyboy’ is also fine, that is a word mainly by foreigners to describe ladyboys in Bangkok.

How old were you when you first realised you wanted to be female?

I first started having feminine feelings when I was around 7 years old.

How do people in society perceive you?

When I started to express my femininity to my family it was a bit strange for them at first, but the days passed by and they accepted me without any hesitation. However, for people who are not as open minded, they would make comments and negatively judge me.

What operations did you have and were they expensive?

I was 28 when I started and had a rhinoplasty (nose lift), which cost 12,000 bahts (around £235/$380). I’ve also had operations on my eyelids, which cost 20,000 bahts (around £390/$630) and breast enlargement surgery, which cost 45,000 bahts (around £880/$1,420).

That’s it for now. I intend to *keep* everything else as it is (!) and now focus on beauty enhancement.

Is there anywhere particular you recommend going for gender reassignment related operations?

The best specialist Doctors are based in Bangkok and one in particular I recommend is Dr Theerapong who has a clinic in Rama 2 next to the Central Mall in Bangkok.

Which gender do you have listed on your passport?

In my passport I am male and every time I travel I need to look ‘natural’ – ie without make up, no earrings, in order to match my passport photo.

In the Philippines you can change your passport from male to female if you undergo a sex change and with legal process with a lawyer, but I have no plans to do this.

Do shemales / ladyboys face any problems being accepted by society in Thailand?

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