My maid arrived on Saturday with her young nephew, her brother’s son, in tow. The lad, who is nine years old, was going to use my swimming pool. He got changed and went happily downstairs to splash around for a couple of hours while his auntie did the ironing.
After he had gone my maid said, “We think he will become ladyboy.” I must have looked utterly gobsmacked, because she laughed at my expression. “Not be surprised! Lot of ladyboy now!”
I asked her why they thought the boy might develop in that direction, and she told me that he was becoming effeminate, sometimes liked to walk like a girl, and preferred playing with girls and girls’ toys. He also enjoyed looking at photographs of glamorous women, rather than the usual sort of thing that boys of that age take an interest in.
He was regularly teased by his schoolmates for all this, said my maid, but it all seemed good-natured: he certainly wasn’t being bullied.
To be honest he had just seemed like a normal, nice kid to me. Very polite, natural smile. Why do you think he would become like that, I asked her. She replied, and she has said this to me before, that a lot of young Thai boys don’t want to become Thai men. The lot of the working class Thai male is a tough one. The boy’s father is a hopeless case, and certainly no role model for a youngster.
The lad, my maid continued, is bright. He is also sensitive. Because my maid’s son is also a ladyboy, there are a lot of ladyboys around the family. Already the boy can see that the perceived glamour of being a ladyboy can lead to a good lifestyle, she said.
Time and time again I have spoken to ladyboys about how they first decided to follow their chosen path, and I have heard stories that stack up like this one. So often, the decision has been made before puberty. And yes, some have told me that they decided as young as eight or nine years old.
In other words, the lad could be a classic case. It’s too early to tell yet. But as the family is already talking about it, there is the distinct possibility.
Personally, I hope the boy straightens himself out and gets a good education that would at least give him the chance of a decent career. The ladyboy lifestyle may appear glamorous, and it often is, but there can be a great deal of heartache involved, for the ladyboy herself and for her family.