Originally posted May 4th, 2022
I wish to share something very dear to my heart. As I have been close to many that have struggles with gender identity, I absolutely love the fact that Thailand as a whole is very accepting of gender fluidity. When I dressed as a man the first few days I was here (mostly because my mom wanted me to cover up my tattoos), I was addressed as a male, no questions. At first I was upset because I strongly identified as a woman, but then I was able to play with it. The more I soaked in the acceptance I felt, the more I was able to find it within myself.
People can change how they want to be addressed on a daily basis based off of how they dress and how they use the Thai speech (there are different endings for politeness in male speech vs. female speech). If a man wanted to dress as a woman and identify as a woman that day, everyone addressed her as her (at least from what I have witnessed).
In fact, many foreigners come to Thailand for gender reaffirming surgeries, because unfortunately where they live it’s either not accepted or too expensive. Thailand has a good reputation for medical procedures (especially in Bangkok), but of course it can be a gamble.
One thing that Thailand has taught me is to be comfortable in my own skin, and embrace how I show up in the world by just having confidence in how I want to be seen. Dress politely around temples, but then if I want to dress like a man, that’s okay too (although I’m really loving these Thai skirts). As long as I’m polite to others, that’s what matters.
May we all find the strength to embrace the ways we show up in the world that bring us happiness, joy, and inner peace. Because Gods know that the outer world needs peace with all that is happening right now. But peace comes from within ourselves first.
As an addendum to this post, my most recent trip in August of this year has highlighted that not everywhere in Thailand is as welcoming. I guess this is the same for any country, but it tends to be more progressive in the cities, while more conservative in the outskirts. I feel that since I was blessed with an ability to stay there longer then the average tourist, some of the glamour also faded. It was humbling to realize that we all deal with the same issues, more or less – it’s just that the surface tension of how those issues present are different across different cultures. I still say that Thailand as a whole is very welcoming and open, accepting of who a person is, but I have also encountered some friction. Most likely it’s due to western, colonial ideas being integrated into the current frame of mind, but that’s just my suspicion.
Thank you for reading <3