The Thai airline, PC Air, has begun employing Thailand’s third gender as flight attendants, giving transgendered people an opportunity to work outside the entertainment and cosmetics industries, according to the Guardian.
PC Air, named after its president and founder Peter Chan, has employed four “ladyboys” or “katoeys,” as transgender people are called in Thailand, in its current fleet of flight attendants.
While Buddhist-majority Thailand has a largely tolerant and accepting view of its transgender population, they do still face discrimination in being identified as female and finding good jobs, according to TIME magazine. “Katoeys star on TV soap operas and grace catwalks at fashion shows, while an all-katoey pop group called the Venus Flytrap plies the airwaves.”
Skilled surgeons and lower costs for gender reassignment surgery have turned Bangkok into a capital for transgenders, and the Miss Tiffany transsexual beauty pageant is broadcast nationally every year, reported TIME.
"They work as dancers or entertainers or in shops, because society doesn't accept them in other jobs," Chan told the Guardian about the job prospects for Thailand’s transgendered, adding that it was their human right and dream to be accepted into society.
Chan told Reuters that the four new transgender recruits “might provide better services because they understand both males and females. And they’re well-trained according to the aviation standard.”
One of the new recruits, Tanyarat Jirapatpakorn, told Reuters, "Maybe in the future we can get any job that transsexuals never did before, such as police, soldiers or even pilots."
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The surprising aspect of this is that PC Air is using its employment policy as a selling point, with one of their ads showing a young boy walking onto a stage and becoming a woman along the way. The woman, Dissanai Chitpraphachin, is shown winning the Miss Tiffany’s transsexual beauty pageant (which she actually won in 2007) before transitioning to working as a flight attendant for PC Air.