A highlight of my time in Railay was playing beach volleyball with team of “lady boys.” Lady boys are males who identify as females, either before or after a surgery that makes them anatomically female. Lady boys occupy a very interesting place in Thai society. In marked contrast to Americans and many others, Thais are accepting of this “third gender.” The term “lady boy” is still sometimes used as a teasing insult, but it is also generally acknowledged there are men, there are women, and then there are lady boys. Sex tourism is huge is Thailand, and from what I have seen, many lady boys are involved. I have not heard of any “gentlemen women,” though I imagine they are out there.
Anyway, it felt great to play volleyball again. The ladies were really good, and could jump as high as men! :) The game was especially entertaining because during the long scrambling rallies where every touch is somewhat panicked, everyone started screeching. "Aaiii! Aaaaiiii!!" I lost a few points for us because I was laughing so hard.