Thailand’s Culture Views on Homosexuality The Kathoey
Theories A growing number of authors (e.g. Miller 1992, Altman 1995, Sullivan and Leong 1995) have observed that the proliferation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender/transsexual (g/l/b/t) identities is increasingly a global phenomenon How are we to understand the global proliferation of gender and sexual diversity and, more particularly, the apparent similarities of new categories and identities in non-Western societies to Western-styled gay and lesbian forms? (van Griensven, et al., 2004) (Jackson, 2000)
Theories Altman’s Global Queering Model Globalizing economic and technological forces have facilitated cross-cultural borrowing from the West The global gay is best understood as ‘the expansion of an existing Western category’ and as being `part of the rapid globalization of lifestyle and identity politics’ (1996, p. 33) (van Griensven, et al., 2004) (Jackson, 2000)
Theories Morris (1994, 1997) borrowed from Foucault’s (1980) in Thailand New gay and lesbian identities have emerged as a consequence of the institution of a new discursive regime based on sexuality Assumes processes of cross-cultural exchange and imposition within the broader context of globalization (Morris 1994, p. 17)
(van Griensven, et al., 2004) (Jackson, 2000)
Theories “globalization is . . . a deeply historical, uneven and even localizing process. Globalization does not necessarily or even frequently imply homogenization or Americanization.” (Appadurai, 1996, p. 17) It has been argued that while Foucauldian modeled queer theory is open to the analysis of complexity and difference within Western societies, it is typically closed to acknowledging difference between Western and non-Western cultures (Jackson 2000)
Theories These theories take the experience of immigrant ethnic dispersion within Western societies as the model for understanding the situation in homeland societies-a phenomenon that might be described as ‘reducing China to Chinatown’ (Jackson 2000) Failure to take cultural difference seriously means that within much critical theory the non-West often exists only as a site for the projection of Western expectations and fantasies, which are then misconstrued as `data’ to `prove’ the `general validity’ of Western theory
Thai’s history on “Homosexuality”, Sexuality and Gender Identities
History Gender and sexuality are not separate but are one called “ekkalakthangphet” Ekkalakthangphet is measured on a continuum from 100% masculine to 100% feminine In Thailand they are not sexual identities, but rather varieties of what in Thai speech is called “phet” or eroticized genders (preferred forms of pleasure) Thai gender/sex differences and LGBT has historically mostly been introduced and discussed in the press (van Griensven, et al., 2004) (Jackson, 2000)
History Thai gender/sex categories called Phet (eroticized gender) before the 1960’s Phu-chai: normatively masculine “men” Phu-ying: normatively feminine “women” Kathoey(phetthi-sam or third sex/gender): a person, male or female, who exhibited hermaphroditic features or expressed behavior considered inappropriate for their gender The mythical kathoeyrepresents an equal blending of maleness/masculinity and femaleness/femininity that continues to have an iconic place in Thai’s imaginings of gender and eroticism to this day
(Enteen, 2007) (van Griensven, et al., 2004) (Jackson, 2000)
History The different levels of kathoey up to the 1960’s kathoeythae: a true hermaphrodite kathoeythiam: variously a pseudo-hermaphrodite or a cross-dressing man kathoeysao: a cross-dressing young woman krathiam: a man who is sexually attracted to other men but does not cross-dress or act effeminately like a stereotypical kathoey kathoey num: a masculine young homosexual man kathoeyphu-chai: a masculine adult homosexual man kathoeypraphetsorng: a secondary term for a man who prefers males but does not cross-dress or act effeminately This is unlike the Western binary man/woman and homosexual/heterosexual categories (Enteen, 2007) (van Griensven, et al., 2004) (Jackson, 2000)
Western Influence These “Kathoey” terms were replaced by “gay” in the late 1960’s By the 1970’s the term split but only referred to the individuals preferred sexual roles (position) rather than gender roles Gay kings: penetrators; Butch Gay queens: penetrated; effeminate Masculine women were no longer called kathoey but lesbian, dia for dyke in the 1970’s For Thai homosexual women, the term `lesbian’ is resisted because it is understood as representing woman-centered relationships in overly sexualized terms, with many Thai women who love women preferring to imagine their relationships in emotional rather than explicitly erotic terms These women prefer to be referred to as “women who love women”
(Enteen, 2007) (Jackson, 2000)
Western Influence Currently (since the mid 1980’s) Seuabia (man): male bisexual Katheuy Gay king: male penetrator Gay queen: male penetrated Katheuy: transgender Katheuyplaengphe: transsexual Khonsorngphet: hermaphrodite Woman Has been removed from the katheuy category as they were included before the 1960’s. This has been speculated to be due to the influence of the Western culture’s bi-categorization of gender. Lesbian: masculine woman in a homosexual relationship (mainly used in pornography describing woman in woman sex scenes in porn for heterosexual males) Dee: A feminine woman in a homosexual relationship Women who love women (Enteen, 2007) (Jackson, 2000)
Summary The Thais have no clear break between sexuality and gender as the Western cultures do Thais do not see sexuality homoerotism as the central determinate of their identities Sexuality is not an identity but an erotic preference
Summary Interesting enough, in the studies and literature regarding Thais and same sex relationships it is noted that the theories and labels of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer do not fit the Thais views on sexuality, gender and identity. They resist these concepts and adhere to their own of concept of identity It is not centered around sexuality Gender and sexuality (ekkalakthangphet ) are one, not separate Ekkalakthangphetis measured on acontinuum ofmasculinity and femininity This includes gender roles and gender normed behaviors Sex of a partner is seen as an eroticized gender or preferred forms of pleasure called “Phet” which has many different sub categories
There was no information that was available or could be found regarding therapeutic interventions for the Katheuy, Seuabia, Women who love women and their subcategories by this presenter
Psychotherapeutic Considerations Know the Thai culture as a whole When dealing with this population therapist should keep in mind the difference of the way “identity” is viewed Identity is not centered around sexuality as Western societies Gender and sexuality is seen as one phenomenon not two separate entities as Western societies Categorizations and labels of gender/sexuality are different than Western views so cannot be approached or dealt with in a clinical setting in the same ways current popular theories do, i.e. Queer Theory: developed to operate in a bi-categorization environment, a separation of gender and sexuality and a identity centered on sexuality and gender Therapist must be conscious of their own internalized Western views of sexuality, gender, identities and categorization of them These must not be forced onto a Thai client Recognize the difference between Katheuy, Seuabia, Women who love women and their subcategories Affirmation of an individual’s “Phet” (eroticized gender) and an incorporation of a Thai client’s Ekkalakthangphet(gender/sexuality) on a spectrum of masculinity and femininity
Kathoeys As previously discussed, the term “transgender” is rarely used in Thailand. Originally, “kathoey” generally included homosexuals and gender-variant people. Currently, “kathoey” is now used to only describe transgender males. Many western societies also refer Thailand’s kathoeys as “ladyboys” (and sometimes, “ladymen”). Jackson, 2003
Kathoeys(cont.) Masculine women, lesbians, and transgender women were given the umbrella term “tom-dee,” which is similar to Western society’s “tom boy.” Society no longer recognizes them as kathoey. Jackson, 2003
Religious Context of Gender In Thailand, the prevalent belief is that there were three original sexes: male, female, and male-female.
In Buddhist Vinaya text (code of conduct practiced by Thai monks), there are four main genders/sexes: males, females, “ubhatobyanjanaka” (hermaphorodites), and “pandaka” (males with non-normative sexual preference or anatomy).
Religious Context of Gender (cont.) Buddhism teaches that all beings are not permanent. When a being is born, there is not a soul but instead a karmic result of what occurred in one’s previous life. From reincarnation of one life to the next, a being’s elements may be represented as male, female, or kathoey. Neumaier-Dargyay, 1997
Cultural Context Until the mid-19th century, kathoeys once held an honorable status in Thailand, as they were accepted in society with the religious belief that they had shamanic abilities. However, contemporary Thai society currently does not honor kathoeys like before, as there is now some discrimination against them. Even after sex re-assignment surgery, they remain legally male on birth certificates, passports, and identification cards. They also cannot marry a male. Allyn, 1991
Cultural Context (cont.) Due to some discrimination, some kathoeys are not able to easily find jobs. Few find work in music, fashion, and the media. Some find work through performances, such as being in costume and dance cabarets for tourists. Taywaditep, Coleman, & Dumronggittigule, 1997
Cultural Context (cont.) Other kathoeys have no other choice but to become sex workers in order to financially support themselves (and often times, their families due to collectivistic beliefs). Thailand has much less social stigma about sex workers as other societies do (e.g., Western societies). Taywaditep, Coleman, & Dumronggittigule, 1997
Prevalence of Kathoey Reports estimate that about 10,000 kathoeys reside in Thailand. However, this seems to be an underestimate, as some believe there are up to about 300,000. There are a number of surgeons in Thailand who have performed thousands of sex re-assignment surgeries, and one Thai university with a population of 15,000 students claims to have about 100 MTF kathoeys (1/150). Ehrlich, 1996; Matzner, 2001
Prevalence of Kathoey(cont.) If the MTF kathoey estimate is far beyond 1 in 10,000, this would mean that this number is above the transgender estimates of other countries. The American Psychological Association (2009) estimates about 1 in 10,000 Americans are transmen. Matzner, 2001; American Psychological Association, 2009
Identity in Thai Society Most kathoeys outwardly present themselves as female (make up, dresses, long hair, voice, gestures, personality), and tend to pursue female-related jobs. In addition, they possess a vocabulary that is culturally used by Thai females. Most kathoeys take hormones, often starting as early as 10-years-old. Many of them who can pay for cosmetic surgery do so, and a smaller number tend to have sex re-assignment surgery. Although, a large number of kathoeys prefer to retain their genitalia along with their breast surgery. Winter & Udomsak, 2002
Identity in Thai Society (cont.) A study sampled 204 kathoeys with an average age of 25-years-old. The authors found that by 10-years-old, around 70% felt disconnected with other males, about 40% believed they had a mind of a girl or kathoey, and around 35% felt they identified with female or kathoey groups. Furthermore, about 70% wanted to be re-born as a biological woman and wanted to live the rest of their lives as female or kathoeys. Winter & Udomsak, 2002
Identity in Thai Society (cont.) Because there is much less societal stigma about transgenderism in Thailand compared to other countries (e.g., Western societies), kathoeys are well-known in Thai societies. They are able to live social lives in public (e.g., shop at malls, go to movies, dine out, visit temples) without others harassing them very much. Winter & Udomsak, 2002
Identity in Thai Society (cont.) The following link (please copy and paste into a browser) is to a video clip of kathoeys dancing in the public streets in celebration of Thai New Year of 2009. Notice how the public does not even raise a brow or give any harsh stares toward the kathoeys. Even the children are accepting of them. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UnvWI6pBBQ
Identity in Thai Society (cont.) Throughout Thailand, there are annual beauty contests for kathoeys. These events have become a such popular and accepted part of the Thai culture that some Buddhist temples host these events in order to raise money. Forbes, 2002
Identity in Thai Society (cont.) Since Thai society generally believes that kathoeys’ gender-variant behaviors are very natural and are a consequence of fate, family acceptance is relatively high. A study found that about 65% of kathoeys said their mothers are accepting of their gender/sex preference, and around 40% of their mothers are accepting. Winter & Udomsak, 2002
Identity in Thai Society (cont.) There are not many formal restrictions placed upon kathoeys freely expressing themselves. Most Thais are generally friendly toward kathoeys, as Thai culture involves being friendly toward any person. Some complications that occur are due to kathoeys still having their gender as “male” on legal documents. Due to this, there may be problems with traveling (passports saying “male” when kathoeys identify and appear as female), and at many Thai schools they are required to dress like males and respond to their male name. Taywaditep, Coleman, & Dumronggittigule, 1997; Matzner, 2001
Access to Medical Services Kathoeys have easy access to hormones. No medical prescription is needed to attain such hormones, as many local drug stores sell them over-the-counter. Over 95% of individuals who identify as kathoey have taken hormones, some as early as 10-years-old. Mason, 2003
Access to Medical Services (cont.) The process of sex re-assignment surgery (SRS) is similar to the United States (i.e., psychological evaluation, needing to identify as cross-gender for a minimum time). However, there is less stigma about gender-variation in Thailand, allowing for more surgeries to occur. Because of the large number of surgeries performed, Thailand is known to be the capital of SRS. In fact, many transgender individuals from less-accepting societies come to Thailand for easier access to SRS and cheaper prices. Mason, 2003
Clinical Significance Most research on the transgender culture has focused in North America and Europe. Of 235 significant publications on transgenderism from 1992 to 2002, about 90% were studies based on these two Western societies. Only 7% has been conducted on Asian societies.
Clinical Significance (cont.) Historically, most cultures have had an aspect of transgenderism. Currently, some societies are very accepting of gender-variation, whereas other societies are not. Asian transgender people, especially the Thai, seem to publicly represent one of the majorities of the transgender culture, but is underrepresented in research studies. Because Asia seems to have a multitude of ethnicities, cultures, religions, as well as economical, legal, and social statuses, it would be of significant interest to study how Asian transgender people must live. Because of this, it should not be assumed that research conducted on Western societies do not apply to Asian societies.
Clinical Significance (cont.) Since Thailand appears to have a high prevalence of transgender individuals, this would be a convenient and valuable place to start. However, Matzner (2001) said there is a lack of research on older kathoeys because many of them revert back to being “male.” The authors believed that there is not much research explaining why this occurs, and it would be of clinical value for researchers to examine the full life history of kathoeys. Such research will allow further understanding of how culture can affect the lives of transgender individuals.
Clinical Implications Because there is a dearth of research that examines the life history of Thai kathoeys, no clinical implications can be found by the presenter. In addition, Thai societies are generally very accepting of gender-variant behaviors due to cultural and religious beliefs. This lack of extreme stigma upon kathoeys may explain why there is not much psychological research on kathoeys.
LGBT Issues in the Caribbean The social treatment of LGBT individuals in the Caribbean is dramatically different from the accepting, friendly nature in which LGB and gender variant people are treated in Thailand. This portion of the presentation begins with some of the harsh realities seen in recent headlines, concerning the treatment of LGBT people in the Caribbean
LGBT Issues in the CaribbeanRecent Events March 2005: Cruise ship the Polynesia, carrying 110 passengers, most of whom were gay, was boarded off the coast of St. Kitts and Nevis and told not to dock in the country, with Port Authority stating, “we don’t want it to be a part of our culture,” and “it’s not a practice society likes here.” May 2005: Senior Bishop, the Right Rev John Gladwin, who had been invited to speak at a Family Day service in Trinidad, was “un-invited” after he signed a letter in The Times stating that the ordination of an openly gay bishop should not cause a schism in the Church of England, and that the church should have a dialogue with lesbian and gay people. Associated Press (2005); Gledhill (2005)
April 2006: Two gay-travel companies plan all-gay cruises for the two largest passenger cruise ships on earth, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas ship, and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 ship.
LGBT Issues in the CaribbeanRecent Events May 2006: Ryan Smith, a gay man vacationing in St. Maarten, along with his partner and another gay male friend (Dick Jefferson), were beaten because of their sexual orientation. Two of the men had to be airlifted to a Miami hospital after incurring serious head injuries. St. Marteen police did little to investigate the attack until the story was publicized on CBS and ABC News. Gay activists began to publicly question whether GLBT members should visit the Caribbean, with one gay activist, Wayne Besen, stating “It is time for Americans to reassess their relationship with islands such as Jamaica, St. Maarten and the Bahamas. Either they welcome all of us, or none of us. But these ‘paradises’ can no longer be playgrounds for heterosexuals and hunting grounds for homosexuals.” Rothaus (2006)
LGBT Issues in the CaribbeanRecent Events December 2007: In response to a report from the Human Rights Watch about the persecution of gay people, the Fort Lauderdale based church, Sunshine Cathedral, established a gay-friendly church in Jamaica. Jamaica has been named one of the most inhospitable countries for LGBT people in the world by human rights organizations. May 2007: When Sunshine Cathedral’s pastor, Rev. Grant Lynn Ford, appeared on a radio station, several Jamaican callers called to reprimand him for promoting homosexuality, with one caller stating that if Ford stepped foot in Jamaica, he would get “a bullet through his head.” James-Johnson (2007a); James-Johnson (2007b)
LGBT Issues in the CaribbeanRecent Events December 2007: After Grenada officials questioned whether to allow gay cruise ships into their port, several hotels received reservation cancellations. The cancellations caused the tourism minister to declare, “we will continue to welcome all visitors and we will work, along with our population, to ensure that their time and ours will be enjoyable,” and decide to allow the cruise ships into port. February 2008: Michael Hayden, a Jamaican police officer who publicly came out, began to receive death threats, causing him to seek asylum due to fear of death Goddard (2007); Flavelle (2008)
LGBT Issues in the CaribbeanRecent Events March 2008: 200 University of Toronto students gathered for the discussion “The Sound of Hate: Where Sexual Orientation, Race, Dancehall Music and Human Rights Collide.” Participants urged Canadian citizens to consider a Caribbean tourism boycott until Caribbean governments enact laws to protect LGBT people. The discussion centered around popular reggae songs that have been referred to as “murder music,” because they contain threatening statements toward gay and lesbian individuals, and are often recited by mobs who attack gay men. Infantry (2008)
Murder Music Songs with hateful lyrics aimed at inciting violence against LGBT individuals. Examples: “Boom Bye Bye” by BujuBanton “Log On” by Elephant Man “Batty man fi dead” by Beenie Man Lyrics such as: Battymanfi dead! Queers must be killed! Please mark we word Please mark my words Gimmethatec-nine Give me the Tec-9[Tec-9: semi-automatic assault pistol] Shoot dem like bird Shoot them [queers] like birds Egale, Canada (online)
LGBT in Jamaica Sodomy is a criminal offense, punishable by 10 years in prison (Flavelle, 2008) According to the Guinness Book of Records, Jamaica has the highest rate of churches per square mile of any country. (James-Johnson, 2007b) Values rooted in conservative traditional biblical teachings The church denounces gay sex Jamaica is the source of many of the “murder music” artists Jamaican police have repeatedly ignored the beatings and murder of gay and lesbian individuals, calling the incidents “domestic violence,” or “crimes of passion between lovers,” even when angry mobs of up to 200 have been chanting anti-gay lyrics at the site of the beating/murder (James-Johnson, 2007a)
LGBT in Jamaica Brian Williamson, a gay-rights activist who founded Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) was stabbed to death in his home in 2004. Police referred to his death as a robbery despite a “jubilant crowd” outside his home.(James-Johnson, 2007a) In September 2007, Bruce Golding was elected to the People’s National Party, after stating that he would provide “no solace” for gays and lesbians. (Steinecke, 2007) Gareth Henry, former co-chair of J-FLAG, fled to Toronto in February 2008 after surviving homophobic violence in Jamaica. (Infantry, 2008) J-FLAG cannot disclose it’s street address, due to fear of violence (http://www.jflag.org/about/index.htm)
LGBT in Cuba LGBT individuals are not allowed to have an advocacy organization Fidel Castro’s niece, Mariela Castro Espin, daughter of Raul Castro, has spoken out regarding police harrassment of LG people, and has introduced legal reforms Rights for transsexuals to change name and identity documents are recognized The government is working on recognition of same-sex partnerships and free sex-change surgery and hormones on demand Steinecke (2007)
LGBT in Puerto Rico “Gaybourhood” in San Juan with gay bars, stores, restaurants and guesthouses Gay Pride has been celebrated for over 12 years Homosexuality legalized in 2005 Hate Crimes legislation Government officials include LGBT rights issues when running for office Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico, has gay-owned accomodations and is viewed as a “gay getaway” Steinecke (2007)
LGBT in other Caribbean Nations Homosexuality is illegal in Grenada (Goddard, 2007) In the Bahamas, police raided a party for the Black Gay and Lesbian Pride Cruise in October 2007, but made no arrests (Steinecke, 2007) Islands such as Curacao and Saba of the Netherlands Antilles advertise being gay-friendly destinations (Steinecke, 2007)
Caribbean Derogatory Terms For Homosexuals of Either Gender: Sodomite For Homosexual Men: Batty-man or Batty-boy Chi Chi Man Bugger For Homosexual Women: Man Royal *Unlike in Thailand, in the Caribbean, all terms for LGBT people are negative
Sex Workers “Beach boys” are common in Caribbean countries. They are young men who are often hired by older European or American women who come to vacation in the Caribbean islands. These men escort the women around the island during their stay, and typically engage in sexual relations as part of their fee “Bugarrones” in the Dominican Republic are male sex workers who are usually hired by travelling male tourists from Europe, America and Canada. Similar to beach boys, bugarrones are available for hire for sexual relations, and often escort their hire around the island during their stay as part of the practice. The term “bugarron” is a traditional word used to refer to a man who engages in anal penetration with other men, for some sort of financial compensation. They are known as “normal” men when not working for sex “SankyPanky” in the Dominican Republic are young, masculine men who earn money by hustling male and female tourists on beaches. The term emerged in the 70’s and 80’s as a linguistic adaptation of the English phrase “hanky panky” Padilla (2007)
Bugarrones Most male bugarrones or “sankypanky” are not gay identified as Western men often are. They typically have wives or girlfriends and children whom they spend time with when they are not working. The majority of male sex workers avoid using terms of emotional attachment when referring to their clients, as a way of preserving their self-image as “macho” and to avoid feeling that they are a “maricon” (effeminate gay man) These men are typically viewed as heterosexual by family, friends, and neighbors Many sex tourists eroticize the bugarron’s straight identity, increasing ideas about sexual fantasies with very masculine, straight men Many bugarrones establish longer-term relationships with tourists who visit the Dominican Republic on a regular basis, spending time with the same bugarron on each visit. Many of these returning tourists regularly wire money from abroad to their bugarron, as part of their agreement. These tourists are referred to as “Western Union Daddies.” Financial assistance is used for a variety of living expenses, such as cars/motorcycles, furniture, cellular phones, construction materials, food, and very often clothing and supplies for children Padilla (2007)
Economic Aspects of Sex Work Most male sex workers seek work in their industry due to a lack of employment opportunities. Due to the poor economies of many Caribbean countries, these men engage in male-to-male sexual relationships as a way to provide for their families and earn an income. Financial assistance received from abroad drives the economy of the Dominican Republic, so that in 2001, the amount of money received from abroad was three times the amount earned through the export of agricultural products. Mexico and Brazil are the only two countries of Latin America and the Caribbean that receive more financial assistance from abroad than the Dominican Republic Padilla (2007)
Caribbean Gender Roles The dominant family structure in the Caribbean is matrifocal, with female headed households. There is a high incidence of “conjugal unions” (as opposed to marriage) between men and women Women are typically defined as mothers, wage earners, and sexual objects Due to economic circumstances, men are often unemployed Men typically engage in multiple conjugal relationships with different women simultaneously Men are sometimes defined on the basis of their sexual prowess, and masculine appearance. Barrow, (1996); Ferdinand (1996)
Religious Impact on Homophobia Historically, slaves in the Caribbean became literate through the use of the Bible, taught to them by missionaries. Fundamental religious teachings are a primary component of Caribbean culture, with many people attending church services at least once, if not twice or more times a week. The Bible verses of Sodom and Gomorrah are frequently used to incite homophobic beliefs, with gay and lesbian people being referred to publicly as “sodomites.” LGBT members are viewed as “sinful” and “abominations” Silvera (1992)
Colonial Impact on Homophobia Currently, homosexuality is viewed as a “white thing” During slavery, primary family focus was reproduction, as a way to “domesticate” the slaves and increase the labor force. Therefore, homosexual acts were condemned because they do not lead to offspring Heterosexual relationships became viewed as “natural” and “indigenous”, while homosexual relationships are viewed as “unnatural” and “foreign” Homosexuality viewed as product of “overcivilized, sexually repressed, Western (European) civilization that privileges intellect over instinct, reason over emotions,” as a symbol of “foreign decadence and degeneracy.” (Chin (1999) p. 21) Homophobia is then a nationalistic, cultural backlash against colonial (Western) influence Due to lack of privilege on the grounds of race or social class, many working-class Caribbeans assert heterosexual privilege through the use of homophobic messages Chin (1999)
Clinical Implications VERY limited data on LGBT issues in Caribbean Be sensitive to harsh Caribbean attitudes toward homosexuality, and the impact this may have on individuals staying in the closet Understand that each island has a different level of homophobia and LGBT issues are different in each country Although many countries have negative cultural messages regarding homosexuality, most still have homosexual communities, which meet with varying levels of secrecy Ask about your client’s cultural and family messages regarding homosexuality
Thai vs. Caribbean The main differences between the Thai culture’s treatment of LGBT people and the Caribbean culture’s treatment lies in the Caribbean’s focus on binary gender versus the Thai acceptance of different gender/sexual orientations. Additionally, the religious influences in each country determines the treatment of LGBT individuals. In Thailand, Buddhism focuses on being friendly to all people, as people are reincarnated In the Caribbean, traditional Biblical passages are used to incite violence against LGBT individuals and condemn their sexual orientations
Thai vs. Caribbean Due to the friendly cultural and religious teachings in Thailand, Kathoeys are free to display their identities in public without much commotion. Due to the negative/threatening cultural and religious beliefs regarding homosexuality in the Caribbean, most LGBT people have to hide their orientations in public, for fear of being attacked, and are forced to meet “underground”
Questions to Consider In our training as therapist we are taught that sexual identity, gender and gender roles are separate entities and a major part of our identities. The Thai culture is exactly the opposite teaching that these are not all one and not the main part of their identities. Our training is contradictory to the Thai culture’s concepts which is brought with them to the USA. In California there is a huge population of Southeast Asians (Thais being included) and there is a good likelihood we will receive one as a client. How would a therapist serve this population considering their own internalization of the Western European concepts of sexual identity, gender and gender roles as not being one and being a major part of ones identity? Could using the theories (Queer theory), developed with these assumptions, be harmful to this population? How would you go about treating this population?
Bibliography Enteen, J. (2007). Lesbian Studies in Thailand. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 11 (3), 255-263. Jackson, P. A. (2000). An explosion of Thai identities: global queering and. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 2 (4), 405-424. van Griensven, F., Kilmarx, ,. P., Jeeyapant, S., Manopaiboon, C., Korattana, S., Jenkins, R. A., et al. (2004). The Prevalence of Bisexual and Homosexual Orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior,, 33 (2), 137–147.
Thank You Ian J. Ortiz-Nance
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Caribbean References Associated Press (2005, March 23). Cruiseline: Ship of gay, nude passengers barred from St. Kitts. USA Today Barrow, C. (1996). Family in the Caribbean: Themes and Perspectives. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers. Chin, T.S. (1999). Jamaican popular culture, Caribbean literature, and the representation of gay and lesbian sexuality in the discourses of race and nation. Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Mar1999 (5), 14-33. Ferdinand, D.L. (1996). Marginalization and gay families in Latin America and the Caribbean. Gender and Development, 4(2), 47-51. Flavelle, D. (2008, February 25). Gay Jamaican officer seeks asylum out of fear. Toronto Star, p. A01. Gledhill, R. (2005, May 4). Bishop told to forget Caribbean trip after airing liberal gay views. The Times, Home news p. 11. Goddard, J. (2007, December 7). Grenada relents on gay cruises. Toronto Star, p. A03. Hilton, S. (2006, April 30). Gay cruisers quickly filling two largest ships afloat. San Francisco Chronicle, p. G6. Infantry, A. (2008, March 3). ‘Murder music’ sparks tourism boycott call: Gays victimized as defamatory reggae grows in popularity in Jamaica and region. Toronto Star, p. L06. James-Johnson, A. (2007a, March 19). Lauderdale church helps Jamaica’s lesbian, gay community suffering abuses: Reports of abuse led Sunshine Cathedral to take stand. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. James-Johnson, A. (2007b, May 29). Leaders of gay congregation in Jamaica meet with hostility in S. Florida. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Padilla, M.B. (2007). ‘Western Union Daddies’ and their quest for authenticity: an ethnographic study of the Dominican gay sex tourism industry. Journal of Homosexuality, 53(1/2), 241-275. Rothaus, St. (2006, May 9). Gay tourist healing after Caribbean island attack: A young CBS News employee is recovering in Miami Beach from a near-fatal gay bashing during a vacation last month in St. Maarten. Two were arrested on Saturday. Miami Herald. Silvera, M. (1992). Man royals and sodomites: Some thoughts on the invisibility of Afro-Caribbean lesbians. Feminist Studies, 18(3), 521-533. Steinecke, J. (2007, November 10). Caribbean can be chilly when it comes to welcoming gays. Toronto Star, p. T10. Stop Murder Music (Canada) Backgrounder, (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2009, from http://www.egale.ca/smm/docs/background.pdf