Through the lives of three kathoey, male transvestites, this introduction to transgender in Thailand places a cultural, historical, religious, biological, and psychological emphasis on international traditions of sexuality. A fascinating anthropological and sociological exploration, the context of transgender is detailed through the challenges and joys found in Manat, Lek, and Akorn as they travel through the social rites of passage to become kathoeys. As a part of the cultural landscape of Thailand, the kathoeys are a modern expression of an archaic tradition, and through these personal stories a wider discussion of transgender and the existence of a third sex in international societies emerges.
Richard Totman is a former fellow of Linacre College, Oxford, and a lecturer in the department of experimental psychology at the University of Sussex. He subsequently became a theater director and taught for part of each year in Thailand.