Thai airline hires transsexuals as flight attendants

Last Updated: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 18:42

Kuala Lumpur: A newly formed Thai airline
is employing transsexuals as flight attendants, in a bid to
provide them equal opportunity.

"Ketoeys" or ladyboys, who are highly visible in
mainstream jobs in Thailand, will work as flight attendants on
the Asian routes of a charter airline `PC Air`, starting April
this year.

P C Air earlier decided to hire males and females for
the job but later changed its plan after it received more than
100 applications of transgenders, media reports said.

Airline boss Peter Chan said recruitment, driven by a
belief in equal rights, would continue. "I think these people
can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business,
and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess. I just
made their dream come true," he said.

Four ladyboys are initially chosen along with 19
female and 7 male flight attendants, but they will behave like
woman in their walk and talk.

"Our initial quota was set at three transsexuals, but
we will consider taking more in the future depending on their
qualifications," a PC Air spokeswoman said.

The transgender attendants will wear a special
gold-coloured "third-sex" name tag to help passengers and
immigration authorities know what gender they are dealing
with.

Thanyarat Jiraphatpakorn, winner of the 2007 Miss
Tiffany transsexual beauty pageant, is among the successful
candidates. "At first I thought they would just take
applications but not actually recruit us, as has happened at
other places before," Thanyarat, 23, was reported as saying by
The Nation newspaper.

Transsexuals have higher visibility in Thailand than
in many other nations, holding mainstream jobs in a variety of
fields. They are especially common in cosmetics shops or
health stores, which almost always have a ladyboy shop
assistant.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 18:42

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