From the Blog

March 31, 2017

Third Gender in Thai armed Services

The annual conscription lottery is soon to begin, here in Thailand

Third Gender in Thai armed Services

lady boys who attended the draft


In the First week of April each year the Kingdom holds its ‘Draft Pick’ for those Thai men who have obtained the age of 21. While those medically unfit still need to attend, they are not excepted into Thailand’s armed forces and are sent on their way.

Those who remain go through the procedure of drawing straws, cards or small balls, while the majority of all those attending, are sent home, those pulling a black ball, the short straw or the wrong card are immediately enlisted.

This yearly event is attended not only by the would be new recruits, but also a mass of anxious relatives and friends, who look on anxiously awaiting for their sons and love ones to draw the right colour.

Each new choice brings with it an almost immediate riotous applause or if its wrong, then groans and tears, while the Lady boys of the same age who are all required to attend can walk away unfazed as they do not face the ordeal of the draft.


Avoiding Conscription

Any-one who tries to avoid conscription face a punishment of up to three years in jail and are also unable to work in the civil service or with some companies; the statute of limitations on this offence lasts for 10 years. For those that want a life in his majersties armed forces they can join at 18 years of age; for voluntary military service


Third Gender in Thai armed Services

The exclusion of Lady boys

The Ministry of Public Health considered homosexuality and choosing to be a Kathoey a mental illness until 2002. In 2011, the military revised the language for 3rd gender exemption from conscription from ‘‘severe mental illness’’ to ‘‘gender does not correspond with the sex at birth’’.

While in July 2016, the Thai government announced that it will look to provide separate accommodation for those ‘Lady Boys’ who are incarcerated for crimes.


While Thailand may be known for its open sexual diversity, it is reported by Transgender Alliance for Human Rights that past years;

the draft has seen painful episodes with kathoeys verbally and sometimes physically abused by officers and other men. Some have been sexually propositioned or asked to bare their breasts publicly, while others were asked to give massages to or serve male officers”.

This year the alliance is asking the nations press, to report the draft without resorting to innuendo and with far less humor……..



For more on Festivals across Thailand for each month click on any of the Following:  JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember


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