A dark-brown voice

There are those who’d argue that it’s a mixed-up, shook-up world, based on stories like this:

The president of the first Thai airline to hire transsexuals as flight attendants on Thursday said he was a “pioneer” and predicted other carriers would follow his lead.

Fledgling airline PC Air has already recruited six crew of the “third sex” and boss Peter Chan said recruitment, driven by a belief in equal rights, would continue.

Thanyarat Jiraphatpakorn[Insert “Bangkok” joke here.]

Seriously: “third sex”? They’re not necessarily presenting as Something In Between, Pete. Now I’m aware of the Thai term “kathoey,” which ostensibly translates as such — and the snippy English rendering “ladyboy,” which does likewise — but I suspect at least some of them embrace these terms reluctantly, if at all. And hey, you hired the young lady at right, who won a beauty pageant back in ought-seven. I am not aware of the state of Thanyarat Jiraphatpakorn’s, um, hardware, but I’m reasonably certain that it isn’t particularly relevant to being a flight attendant.

Or, perhaps, even to being a fashion model these days:

Transsexual model Lea T. has taken her first turn on the runway and — surprise! It wasn’t for Givenchy. She walked in a long, black dress with ornate sleeves for designer Alexandre Herchcovitch’s Fall/Winter 2011/2012 show at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, in her native Brazil.

Lea T. in VogueMiss T. is pre-op. (Trust me on this.) I’ve grumbled for years about fashion models having the general shape of twelve-year-old boys, so it’s probably about time we had one who, legally anyway, used to be a twelve-year-old boy.

So what are we to make of this? Is transsexual the new black? I have no idea. It’s been a long time since Boys Don’t Cry, and even good ol’ Chaz Bono has been out of the limelight for a while. Maybe it’s just that, like everyone else of a certain age, I grew up with the idea of gender as strictly binary, and it takes a while to get one’s mind around the notion that 2 might not be a high-precision number.

If your next question is “What brought this up, anyway?” it was the combination of seeing those two stories yesterday and this video, from someone just down the road from me, over the weekend.


  1. McGehee »

    1 February 2011 · 2:02 pm

    Never mind all that — will these not-so-weaker-sex flight attendants object to being called “stewardesses?”

  2. CGHill »

    1 February 2011 · 2:05 pm

    If the airline horror stories I’ve heard of late are true, flight attendants supposedly object to being called, period. (I haven’t been on a plane in over a decade, so I have no personal experience of this sort.)

  3. Tatyana »

    1 February 2011 · 5:20 pm

    Chaz, they come quickly when you push the button, they are friendly and competent and don’t object to being called Miss – just like you wouldn’t call a clerk at the DMV ” hey, clerk!”, same deal applies to the plane’ etiquette.

    Your puzzlement is understandable; may I suggest a book for you, Middlesex by Eugenides; I like it enough to buy a copy for my library – a very rare occasion.

    Lea T has a beautiful face. And (s)he sounds smart, too: “cannot allow [herself] the luxury of being in love”.

    At least that sentiment you might find familiar.

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