Being Gay in Thailand
No Christian prescriptions here about what is
right sex and what is wrong sex. Many Thai men have a sliding scale regarding sex compared to their average Western counterpart. There is a
local joke - What's the difference between a gay man + a straight man? A beer. A joke, yes, but one that tells a lot about male attitudes to sex. This is the side visitors often see. Sexuality is a different matter though. There is still great pressure to marry + have children. 'A Gay Life' is still seen as an imported western concept - gay bars, gay pride + the like - still many young gay men do not tell parents + family about being gay. Gay characters on TV dramas are often very fem if not ladyboy + the general public displays discomfort in the portrayal of MANLY men being gay.
Lesbian Life Koh Samui
There are, of course, Lesbian women living on Samui - both Thai and foreign. But as is the case
in the rest of Thailand - Bangkok exempted -
there is no acknowledged place on Samui for Thai or Western lesbians to meet even. Thai Lesbians prefer to use the terms Tom (for Tomboy) and Dee (as in Lady) to refer to themselves. Of course gay gals will be welcomed to the gay bars -
though we wonder whether a bunch of dancing boys will be much entertainment. Check out the Utopia-Asia website for some excellent information on lesbian life in Thailand - links, contacts and places to meet.
Transgender Culture Koh Samui
Katoey is the everyday term for a transsexual or transgendered Thai person - or Ladyboy. There is a relatively high level of acceptance of Katoey. Though only to a certain point. Much modern day acceptance comes from the frequent presence of a Ladyboy character in Thai TV dramas - where they act out the 'third sex' role of mediating between the love torn main male and female characters. They would never be the story in themselves + never have a sexual partner. There is a reasonably large transgender community on Samui. Many work in the entertainment industry mainly cabarets or prostitution and are really "out there". It is important not to forget however many lead regular and unassuming lives doing the 9 to 5 daily routine.
Samui is a rapidly growing gay holiday and residential destination. Gay life on Samui is a relaxing and quieter contrast to the exuberant gay life of Bangkok , Pattaya + Phuket. Gay bars and clubs are fewer in number - more laid back, open, friendly and accessible. Yet gay visitors can enjoy the fun + froth of a bar or two or three, great quality massage and body treatments, excellent wine + dine or the fine white sands of Samui's beautiful beaches. It's just ..... fantabulous!