"Whiskey is Whiskey;
You Can't Make a Cocktail from That!"[1]
Self-Identified Gay Thai Men in Bangkok


by

Jillana Enteen

Rutgers University



Copyright © 1998 by Jillana Enteen, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.

  1. "Men who are not a part of Bangkok's gay culture see things only as they are," announces Law, a self-identified gay Thai man who frequents Bangkok's gay clubs and bars and manages a Thai restaurant that caters to gay farang[2] (western) clientele. Law teaches his staff what westerners expect in a meal, providing traditional Thai food tempered to farang tastes and presented in the European manner with appetizer, soup, entrée and dessert, and an extensive wine list from which he offers recommendations that complement each order. He understands farang culture, he declares, because becoming gay has made him creative and able to comprehend and change things around him. According to Law, a Thai man who is not gay sees whiskey and wants to drink it just as it is, never considering alternative drinks that make life better, more beautiful, and more interesting. Law is one of many Thai men in Bangkok who speak English as much as possible, date only farang men, and consider themselves "gay." However, the way Law describes being gay coincides with the identifications of neither his boyfriends nor his other self-identified gay Thai friends.

  2. In the past ten years, Bangkok has produced many representations of gayness. This essay examines some of these, showing how different men in Bangkok constitute being gay to the English speaking community. Rather than imagining the existence of a "universal" model of gay identity that men around the world adopt or invoking the universal grammar sometimes applied to incongruous sites by post-colonial theory, this essay documents some of the alternative models of gayness described by Thai men, illustrating how the "ingredients" of the "cocktail" Law suggests are not prefigured or consistent, even within this small, recently constructed community. Self-identified gay Thai men participating in Bangkok's gay community create and inhabit new gendered spaces that reflect Thailand's ten-year economic boom and its increasing participation in international markets. In the process, they provide new ways of self description and presentation. Western gay identities do not prefigure being gay in Thailand, nor does the position of kathoey (Thai transsexuals and transvestites) or the terms Thai men who have sex with men use to describe their actions. Positioning oneself as gay in Thailand includes an awareness of the label as global, but the ways in which it is enacted combine and reposition ideologies from many sources, producing diverse, dynamic, often conflicting descriptions, as well as altering and increasing erotic possibilities and avenues for articulating desire.

  3. Between 1986 and 1996, Thailand had one of the world's fastest growing economies, producing a high volume and variety of export products which generated a per capita income that increased exponentially. The effects of the growth were felt by nearly everyone living in Thailand: almost every family in the nation was able to acquire electricity, a television set, and the possibility of employment, although this often required relocating to Bangkok. Prosperity had the largest impact on Bangkok residents, creating a middle class and increasing opportunities for education and well-paid employment. In addition, foreign and domestic luxury items became increasingly available and desirable.[3]

  4. In addition to the availability of new products, the number and types of venues for entertainment have swelled as a result of the economic boom. Most of these venues target particular clienteles, and my study focuses on those attracting customers who consider themselves "gay." Most of the self-identified gay men I refer to spend at least several nights a week at Bangkok's most popular "gay" nightclub, DJ Station, located on one of the two alleys known for gay clubs and restaurants. The gay community these men describe includes specific bars, gyms, restaurants and clubs. The majority of the Thai men who participate in this community and go to these places work in the western oriented service industry. My most extensive interviews and the bulk of the quotations discussed in this essay come from several men with whom I spent a great deal of time over a ten-month period.[4] Law, originally from Isaan, the poorest region in northeast Thailand, managed the restaurant described above. Oad, a young Bangkok native, attended a local university, where he studied German and tourism. All of the men discussed were good friends.

  5. Although most of the men who are a part of this community refer to themselves as gay, there are many other terms that describe men having sex with men in Thai. Jan W. de Lind van Wijngaarden reports 29 different Thai words for male homosocial desire and actions from interviews with only 51 informants. Rather than constituting identities, most of these terms focus on the actions of these men. According to the men I interviewed, the performance of these actions does not necessarily change how they envision their sexual identity. Similarly, the contributors to The Men of Thailand Guide to Thailand assert: "Although male-to-male sexual behavior is universal, an identity based on it is not. It has only been within the past five years that a clearer distinction about what it means to be gay (as opposed to being kathoey--effeminate, transvestite, trans-sexual) has formed" (57). Imagining the advent of this international gay community in either/or fashion, as an acceptance and co-option of a seamless "western" gay identity or as a Thai indigenization that provides more words for actions without the incorporation of identity construction, simplifies what is occurring. Instead, various western images, ideologies, bodies and languages are influencing the ways in which self-identified gay Thai men construct and describe being gay. The articulation of this modern construction is not consistent among its members, illustrating that even within this single, isolated community, the ways in which new positions are described and adopted are uneven and multifarious.

  6. English has become the most common language for communication by self-identified gay Thai men with farang, and it is the primary language for conducting international business and forming the majority of formal and informal liaisons with farang. Communicating in English is also perceived as an essential component to financial success. In addition, as Eric Allyn and Peter Jackson relate, "English has an exotic and cultured sense for many Thais, having associations with wealth, education, culture, modernity and sexual liberality" (236). Allyn and Jackson make explicit the connection between the English language and seemingly modern forms of sexuality. Not only have the Bangkok Post and the Nation, the two largest daily English language newspapers, begun to print many international wire service stories about sexuality, gender and gays outside of Thailand, but sexuality and sexual practices in Thailand, by both farang in Thailand and Thais, are increasingly being described and interpreted. While Peter Jackson states that "Thailand is a society where having sex is relatively unsanctioned, but talking about it in public is strongly sanctioned" (14), this public silence has diminished partially as a result of the increasing prevalence of westerners and western products in addition to English language presses. Because non-Thai speakers are involved in greater numbers of economic, including sexual, interactions in Bangkok, English has become a dominant language used by Thais with both other Thais and non-Thais. English language representations are thus essential considerations for any attempt to understand how self-identified gay Thai men present themselves as gay.

  7. An increased curiosity and openness to foreign ideas accompanies the desire for imported products in Bangkok, evident in the changing styles of clothing, movies, and popular music. Both imported and Thai produced goods and services reflect interests in trends and practices that previously occurred only outside of Thailand's borders.[5] Professor Suwatana Aribarg explains the Thai practice of silence about alternative sexualities in a 1995 interview: "'Homosexuality is inherent in every culture, every society. It's not a result of Western influence as some say.' Homosexuality may be less of an open presence in Thai society. . .because 'Thais regard sexuality as an embarrassing matter that shouldn't be openly discussed or flaunted'" ("Seen"). However, as a result of the widespread presence of farang products and ideas, sex and sexualities in farang senses have become subjects sanctified for scrutiny and discussion. The Men of Thailand Guide to Thailand reports this economic boom and its resulting change in the way men meet men:

    In mid 1994, the trend became clear. A Thai gay identity is being born in a non-homophobic society. A sign of this was reflected in its gay businesses. . . . There was also an astonishing surge in the number of gay venues without male sex workers. . . . Some may think that the Thai gay world is developing, but we think it is evolving to meet the needs of Thai gay men.[6]

    This passage clearly yokes the "surge in the number of gay venues" with "the needs of Thai gay men." Although the assertion that Thailand is "non-homophobic" is contradicted unanimously by the men I interviewed, as well as in letters written by Thai men to "Uncle Go" in Dear Uncle Go (Jackson) and journalistic accounts such as "A Plea for Tolerance" (Chamsanit), what Allyn and Samorn imagine as a "sign of this" supposed non-homophobia describes an economic shift. The emergence of gay businesses and venues, as well as the change in the types of services offered, links economic success in an international market to the desires of Thai gay men. The Men of Thailand Guide jubilantly pronounces 1986 the year farang labeled Thailand a "gay paradise," but it also claims that the scene is "evolving," not "developing," and that it evolves according to Thai needs rather than farang desire. The refusal to attribute this change to "development" recognizes that such a term would insinuate the uncritical replication of western structures. Proposing evolution based on the needs of Thai gay men presents an example of what Arjun Appadurai describes as "a space of contestation in which individuals and groups seek to annex the global into their own practices of the modern" (4). Oad similarly remarks on Bangkok society's increasing awareness and acceptance of the appearance of western style gay culture: "Ten years ago, straight people didn't accept [the presence of gays] as much as now, but now they are open minded and accept it. We live in the capital city." His positioning of Bangkok acknowledges that the site of increased economic activity is also where new ideas and experiences evolve.

  8. Coinciding with the arrival of new ideas and practices is the expansion in the number and types of players in Thailand's economic growth and urbanization, increasing the opportunities for economically disadvantaged and less educated families to achieve economic prosperity. Thai men from poor families often make their way to Bangkok to find work. If they master basic English and learn some farang habits and expectations, they can obtain a job in a variety of businesses that pay a salary large enough to enable family support in a variety of businesses, many of which cater to a farang clientele. Participation in the gay community by having relationships with farang also provides economic opportunities: through participation, Thais can learn English and understand farang cultures, make business contacts and find lucrative employment, and possibly secure direct economic support for themselves and their families.


  9. Thailand's participation in global marketplaces clearly contributes to the establishment of an international gay scene that manifests itself in a manner that reflects Bangkok's history and the changing opportunities for economic advancement. Like the concept of a gay identity, the current construction of Thai identity, although more clearly delineated, is also a conflicted position. Self-identified gay Thai men inhabit both positions--being Thai and being gay--despite some value systems which are in opposition, such as the privileging of youth in the gay community and the high status afforded to age in most Thai communities. How one can be Thai and be gay is currently being explored in literature, the press, and by those who embody this position.

  10. The simplicity of explanations of Thai identity belies the often conflicted obligations it requires. Thai attachment to family, society, royalty, religion and each other is repeatedly premised as the most crucial aspect of "Thai-ness." Membership in and commitment to these intersecting groups, not the sense that one is an individual possessing certain rights and freedoms, are recounted for foreign visitors in introductions to Thailand from many sources: guidebooks, cultural introductions to Thailand,[7] and material developed by the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT). In the TAT's Thailand in the 90s, this interconnectedness is described through the family unit:

    Perhaps the best way to comprehend Thai social values is to focus on its basic unit, the family, and in particular the rural family in its typical village setting. Generally this will be an extended family. . . . Respect for elders is taught very early, . . . and by the time a child walks he is aware of his position in the family hierarchy, a distinction that applies not only to the relationship between parents and children but also to that between siblings of different ages. This same delineation of roles also applies to the wider world outside the family and will remain deeply ingrained throughout life. . . . (56-7)

    Thai children see themselves as part of their extended family, community and nation from a very early age, and with this participation comes the acceptance of duties and obligations. Imbued with the responsibilities inherent in Thai-ness, Law is very concerned about his position in his family; he says that first and foremost he wants to be a good Thai son, and feels guilty that he ignored his parents' request that he marry.[8] Consequently, he puts most of his salary towards the construction of an exquisite house for his parents that includes fixtures imported from Europe and a greenhouse for orchids. This is exorbitant in his small, tropical village which consists of two dirt roads, a temple, rice fields and other rudimentary homes which do not possess running water or plumbing. By doing this, he fulfills the primary Thai obligation of showing respect to his parents, exceeding their expectations and incorporating his own.

  11. While this feeling of commitment and interconnectedness begins at the level of family, it extends past the family and incorporates religion and nationalism. Being Thai is a developed, explained and promoted identity in Thailand. For example, the first textbook that all children throughout Thailand receive after they learn their alphabet and the basics of reading is called Chiwit Nai Chat (Life in the Nation [my translation]). The text starts with an explanation of the symbols of the Thai flag, then describes members of the Royal Family past and present, explicitly directing students to show and feel love and respect. Next it elucidates exactly how a son and a daughter should act and delineates how to be a good Buddhist subject. All of this knowledge and the performance of these duties combine to make a Thai subject Thai. Each aspect of Thai-ness involves the others: children learn their position within their family and in relation to the Royal Family, their religion and their nation. They are instructed on how to act according to the obligations inherent in these relationships.

  12. One major contradiction in Thai-ness is that being Thai is also a racial category that excludes the majority of the residents of Thailand, although most of those excluded consider themselves Thai and adhere to the values inherent in Thai-ness. Despite the official government explanation that Siam changed its name to Thailand because it translates as "Land of the Free," Benedict Anderson traces another reason for this change: a way to privilege those who belonged to the Thai race. Anderson asserts that the word "Thailand" actually functions as the means for exclusion of all those who are not racially Thai but were born and live in Thailand such as the Chinese, people from Isaan (Thailand's largest and poorest area), members of Thailand's Hill Tribes, and the large Muslim population in the south.[9] Furthermore, many government policies enact racism by refusing to grant citizenship to certain Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand and failing to provide consistent educational standards throughout the country. This problematizes the notion of Thai-ness, because, while all residents of Thailand are taught to follow its principles and internalize its responsibilities, the system excludes many of them from full identification and accompanying benefits.

  13. Since the beginning of Thailand's economic boom, discussions of Thai-ness in English have changed markedly: academics now evaluate conflicts and deviations within Thai identity construction. In the Mirror and Value Conflicts in Thai Society provide English language analysis of themes and issues considered in selections of contemporary Thai short stories.[10] Although Thai nationalism is premised on the belief that "progress" is positive, many of the plots of these Thai short stories are described by the authors of the book as centered on how modern, international life changes some Thais but not others, causing clashes and misunderstandings. In these stories, Thai-ness is no longer the defining principle which motivates all Thai people. Changing styles of action and response, as well as different allegiances and customs, accompany Bangkok's participation in international markets. Additional re-evaluations of Thai modernization have been published by Silkworm Press. Thongchai Winichakul (Siam Mapped) and Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker (Thailand and Thailand's Boom) present historical revisions that elucidate the difficulties of incorporating western technologies while maintaining Thai culture and identity. Rosalind Morris describes "[t]he present" as "one of those times in Thailand when different and mutually irreconcilable systems cohabit in a single social field" (19).

  14. This coexistence of clashing systems is reflected in Oad's ambivalence towards his participation in what he sees as two irreconcilable communities. He envisions a future that follows the expectations of mainstream Thai society, coding it as inevitable rather than as a choice: "I think it's a kind of social fact that one day you have to get married and have a child. I think it's kind of like being human." While many Thai men who have sex with men but do not identify themselves as gay are able to fulfill these obligations, I met no married self-identified gay men. Oad thus feels pressure to leave the gay community rather than fuse his current participations so that he can fulfill what he considers to be the obligations of being Thai: "Since I am now older than 20, I have to make plans for my life." However, he still enjoys participating in the gay community from which he has gained much: his excellent skills in English and increased self confidence have enabled him to qualify as an official tour guide and to be chosen as a Young Leader of Thailand,[11] as well as to land a high salaried job. However, he privileges his Thai-ness over his participation in the gay community in his plans for his future.

  15. Law, on the other hand, says that he does not feel that his two identities or his participation in two communities produce conflict or contradiction. In fact, he believes being gay has made him better able to perform his duties as a Thai. He illustrates his success by recounting how he kept his younger relatives occupied and how he convinced them that washing could be fun: "One day when the kids were in the way while the adults were working, I set up a basketball game complete with a goal by using two chairs. When they don't want to take a shower, I make the hose like a rainstorm that they can play in--then they all take showers." Rather than scolding the children or forcing them to wash despite their displeasure, Law finds new solutions which engage and entertain them. This creative thinking he attributes to being gay. Similarly, the house that Law designed for his parents does not conform to the current custom of demolishing old teak houses to install new, modern houses of cement. Instead he has refurbished the teak from the original house and built a much larger house with little cement and the outward appearance of a traditional Thai teak house. The European innovations he includes are consistent with his own aesthetics and in dialogue with the increasing interest shown by some Thais for historical preservation, yet opposed to mainstream procedures for home renovation.[12] These examples show the importance Law places on his commitment to his family, but rather than following expected procedures, he fulfills his commitments in non-conventional ways. Law repeatedly attributes his appreciation of Thai history and architectural traditions, as well as his impulses to devise creative solutions, to his membership in the gay community as well as the tutelage provided by his long-term Danish boyfriend, Hans.

  16. Law does note that there are situations in which being gay and the practices that it entails are in opposition with Thai tradition. He recounted that most of his friends increasingly rely on financial support from their boyfriends:

    Gai is really country and still spends a lot of time there. He doesn't need much. Steven gives money, instead of "helping" him. It makes Gai dependent directly on Steven. In Jep's case, John will give Jep money to study or whatever he wants to do. But Jep is starting to take advantage of it. Recently, he enrolled in three English classes and never went. And Jin is going to lose Shawn because he cheats on him all the time, even though he needs his support.

    Law recognizes that the Bangkok gay community privileges youth and worries that his friends may not realize this because the Thai society endows status on increasing age. These contradictory positions of respect mark an instance where being gay and being Thai do not mesh. Law finds that his friends perceive their current positions within the two as stable, while he believes that decisions they make now will affect how they will be perceived and what opportunities will be available to them in a future where social roles are continually shifting and changing.

  17. Only Law described "being gay" as a particular sex act with a farang man. He identified his initial sexual encounter with Hans, although not his first time having sex with a man, as the moment when he "became gay." None of the other men narrated a particular sex act or marked sexual desire as the determining factor of "being gay." Most attribute their identification to community involvement, as opposed to sexual identification or desire. This involvement was delineated differently: some men classified their work in a western oriented service industry, others their habit of recreating at Bangkok's gay saunas or clubs such as DJ Station, several associated "being gay" with their interest in travelling, befriending farang men, or some other type of participation in an aspect of western culture. Most, but not all, revealed that they had previously had sexual encounters with men, some Thai and some non-Thai. Their answers did not conform to either the habitual Thai practice of employing an illustrative term to describe a specific sexual action rather than an identification or the western gay tendency to "come out." Instead of sexual desire or a defining sex act, the majority linked "being gay" to participation in some form of gay community.

  18. The respondents' difficulty in comprehending my query for a general definition of "being gay" and their requests for further elucidation suggest that such a definition was not an issue most of them had previously considered. Law excludes his friends when explaining what being gay means to him: "When I speak about gayness I talk only about myself, not them. Maybe what I have been through is different because I met very different people." During the course of the interviews, the way he constructs "being gay" varies tremendously; frequently he defines it as social, describing "being gay" through encounters, experiences and things he learned from western gay men. He asserts that being gay provides him with new abilities, but he would also, at times, credit his "improvements" as deriving from the knowledge acquired by Hans. Similarly, Oad ascribes his self confidence to being gay, while at other times he declares it was a result of his long term relationship with his farang boyfriend and, later, close friend, Chris. Despite their reference to community involvement, other men I interviewed analogously attributed what they sensed as personal growth to the farang with whom they first assumed a gay identification.

  19. Although he describes himself as changed because of his involvement in the gay community, Oad sometimes refused the moniker "gay," resisting the western term and the attempts by farang to classify him. He suggested that it is a western obsession and complained that westerners he knew had prescribed the position for him, despite his refusal:

    I talked about this to many westerners. Somebody said, okay you are gay. But I don't feel gay. But I feel bisexual. Somebody said I am gay even if I feel bisexual because I never have/had [tense unclear] sex with women, so how can I be bisexual if I've never had sex with women? But I am Thai, and I still believe that kind of Thai attitude that you can't have sex with a Thai woman until you marry her. I don't go to prostitutes because I don't want to, though someone said if I don't go and I get married, I won't know how to make love. But I already know how to make love. So I don't have sex with women, but I call myself bisexual anyway.

    By describing himself as bisexual despite his lack of experience with women, he reveals both his anxiety that "being gay" is incompatible with his future plans and his membership within traditional Thai society, as well as his resistance to western categorizations. Oad dismisses farang attempts to assign him an identity based on his sexual history. Despite pressure from his friends to have sex with a sex-worker, he declares that he "already know[s] how to make love," insinuating that sex with farang men will prepare him for sex with Thai women. He will not accept the label of "gay" despite his actions--he consistently has sex and relationships with farang men, he is an active member of the gay community, recreating at gay bars, clubs and restaurants, and he works in the farang oriented service sector--all of which are the qualifications presented by other Thai men to describe being gay. This marks his resistance to farang pressure, his refusal to accept an identity based on his current actions, and his concern that being gay will affect his ability to be Thai. Oad's fluctuation in his self description illustrates one strategy for managing what he perceives as a contested, inconsistent and contradictory position. Other strategies exist, and the possibilities are proliferating.


    [13]

  20. Instances where self-identified gay Thai men's presentations address practices of farang gays, resisting, adapting and accepting elements of what they perceive as "international gay culture" frequently occur at locations considered part of the gay community. While kathoey, Thai "lady-boys" who were born with male bodies but believe they possess women's souls and cross-dress or surgically feminize their bodies, have accepted positions in rural, lower-class Thai society (Rosalind Morris problematically describes kathoey as inhabiting a "biologically irreducible third category,"[14] self-identified gay men have only recently begun to create identities and positions vis vis middle-class Thai society. Despite their different histories and representations, kathoey and self-identified gay Thai men currently coexist in the Bangkok gay community and in English language representations. Moreover, English language accounts of kathoey have increased markedly since the emergence of a Thai gay community. Comparing new notions of "gay" with the more established, yet dynamic, positions held by kathoey reveals additional elements that affect Thai conceptions of gayness as well as providing strategies for the imagining of gay identity as coexisting and compatible with Bangkok upper-class norms.

  21. DJ Station, the most popular gay club in Bangkok, is packed every night with Thais and farang eager to interact. Yet that is not the only purpose of the evening for the Thai men in attendance. Each night at about eleven, a special song blasts through the speakers announcing the beginning of "The Show."[15] Almost all the Thai men present gather around the stage and chant, in English, "It's time for The Show!" When the music stops and the lights dim, they cheer in anticipation. Most evenings, the show begins with a male Master of Ceremonies (MC), dressed haphazardly in women's clothes, addressing the audience in Thai. If s/he speaks English at all, it is normally as a joke. After the introduction, kathoey and self-identified gay Thai men perform choreographed dances to four or five songs: some hits from Europe and the United States, some from Thailand's prolific music industry. Each show also features a spoof of a traditional Thai tale.

  22. To know which tale was being enacted and to understand how and why it transgressed from the original version requires intimate familiarity with Thai culture, language and humor. The tales are almost always adaptations of those passed down through generations of storytelling at home, Buddhist temple fairs or other events Thais frequently attend, so the Thai audience is familiar with the narrative and can easily recognize the alterations. This style of skit/farce that mocks traditional stories and gender conventions is frequently performed at village fairs, community gatherings and on television. The skits presented for a mainstream Thai audience often feature cross dressing, especially men performing as women, and the actors suffer no condemnation, the audience delighting in the spectacle. Likewise, song and dance performances by kathoey in other venues such as the well-known Calypso Cabaret are popular events, well attended by members of Bangkok's upper middle and middle class. The performance at DJ Station differs from these other performances by targeting its particular audience, emphatically attacking female sexuality, ridiculing heterosexual acts and making fun of sex acts between men while clearly privileging them. DJ's skits mock well-known Thai depictions of conventional romance, feminine modesty, heterosexual coupling, and the hierarchies and racism embedded in dominant society, all the while replicating the protocols followed by mainstream revisions of traditional tales. This simultaneous derision and replication of Thai traditions and the expectations of dominant communities reflect and work through the conflicted memberships held by self-identified gay Thai men.

  23. While the Thai audience always laughs and cheers at this segment of the show, clearly their favorite, most non-Thais ignore it, talking to each other or standing at one of the bars. The popularity of the show, referred to and laughed about throughout the rest of the evening's dancing and meeting farang, suggests that self-identified Thai gay men are not looking solely for and at farang in the process of fashioning their identities. Thai men's enthusiasm for the show demonstrates that their interactions with and transformations of mainstream Thai culture are also important factors in their attempts to forge new positions.

  24. While not addressing the farang in the club directly, the show still occurs in a space charged by their presence. For example, while the farang are, for the most part, excluded from direct address, their existence is often acknowledged both in Thai and in English by the MCs or the performers. The farang's location at the back of the club and by the bars means they see the Thai audience viewing and interacting with the show. This incorporates the Thai audience into the performance since they are watched while they watch. As a result, the Thai audience performs for the farang audience, emphasizing their reactions and gesturing in ways that most of them code as characteristic of an international gay community: screeching, giggling and throwing up their hands. Yet they are resisting full participation in this international community by concentrating on the show. Directing their attention to this revision of Thai culture while attempting to attract and commence a dialogue with the farang present, they incorporate, revise and inhabit positions combining mainstream Thai culture with what they perceive to be international gay culture in previously unimagined ways.

  25. The performers consist of self-identified gay Thai men and kathoey. During the show, the self-identified gay men appear either in drag or as men, while the kathoey always perform in feminine clothing executing extremely stylized, feminine gestures. All of the performers are admired by the Thai audience, and kathoey are recognized as important and highly skilled elements of this community activity. Despite their respected participation as performers, kathoey are frequently rejected by gay Thai men who ridicule them and highlight their differences. In spite of this, kathoey in Bangkok have been migrating from working in predominantly female "off-bars" and/or participating in lower-class Thai society where they are "popularly seen as both a pitiable creature and a fascinating, glamorous anomaly, as a product of bad kamma (karma) in a previous life or, in a dated adaptation of Western psychology, as one warped by the lack of a proper male role model" (The Dove Coos 6). More likely to find approval among farang gay men than with heterosexual customers who hire them, mistaking them for "real women," they are increasingly attending clubs and bars considered part of the gay community. As their presence augments over time, the sometimes violent refusal to recognize kathoey membership in the Thai gay community diminishes and the number of gay men who accept them escalates. While Thai men who consider themselves gay do not want to be classified as kathoey, especially by the mainstream Thai community, some self-identified gay men face similar problems when constructing an identity based on sexual practices. Members in each of these categories may experience conflicting loyalties because they desire both to be accepted as members of the mainstream Bangkok community and to participate in these fringe communities. In addition, the condemnation and ridicule that self-identified gay men receive may be escalating. Kathoey, who possess an identity recognized by lower-class Thai society, may supply strategies for self-identified gay Thai men to achieve middle-class status. Moreover, the increasing participation of kathoey in the Bangkok gay community provides opportunities for mutual alliances.[16]


  26. The following section explores some of the depictions of gayness in the English language press and analyzes how international gay images are altered by gay Thais constructing eroticized objects and situations. The Dove Coos is a translation of Thai erotica published in three Thai language magazines. A popular book, it regularly sells out in the international bookstores of Bangkok, and now has two volumes of additional stories. Most of the stories describe men having sex with men, although the men do not classify themselves as gay. Some of these depictions link farang or farang culture to the erotic situations. Peter Jackson and Eric Allyn assert that possibilities for sexual identification are being created by the introduction of western gay culture. Now, they claim, Thai men who have sex with men have more ways to articulate their desire for a certain type of masculine gay man (226-288). Farang cultures presented in The Dove Coos are eroticized, whether appearing in the form of language, inscribed on farang bodies in Thailand, mapped onto Thai bodies, or implicit in professions involving participation in international markets.

  27. In some of The Dove Coos' stories, the English language increases the possibilities for expressing pleasure. One story depicts a Thai English language teacher who, while tutoring a student at his home, initiates a sexual affair. In the opening, it seems the shy student, who stutters and cannot speak a word of English, will prove unteachable. Then the tutor and the student have sex. The writer describes the following scenario:

    "Fuck me faster, harder!" [the student] pleaded. "Please, sir! It
    feels so good!"
    I was so stunned and excited by his passion that I didn't realize he'd
    spoken English. . . " That was the most complete sentence I ever heard you speak, Ek. Where did you learn that kind of talk?"
    "From a magazine called In Touch my friend lent me."
    "You understand what you were saying?"
    "Sure, sir. It was the first English I could ever remember."
    That night, he taught me a few more really filthy phrases in English
    and several things I had not thought about doing.
    From that night on, after tutoring him in polite English, he taught me
    a whole encyclopedia of sexology. He also stopped stuttering.(36-7)

    In this passage, learning English not only provides the opportunity for sex between teacher and student, it comically reverses the expectations set up in the pupil/teacher dynamic. The shy, stuttering student, unable to understand or speak English, is transformed through sex as a result of his exposure to the combination of English language teacher and English language magazine. The knowledge gleaned from the English magazine enhances his erotic acumen, enabling him to teach his teacher. And this knowledge and acumen enable his speech fluency during sex. The story depicts the common Thai scenario of a student being tutored in English, but it puts in a series of erotic twists and, in the process, suggests sexual pleasures may accompany English language learning experiences. Furthermore, the story insinuates that farang gays exercise exotic acts and that the knowledge and practice of these acts increases sexual pleasure.

  28. The expansion of available western media as well as the growing presence of farang bodies in Thailand, especially Bangkok, leads to increasing numbers of erotic depictions that include farang, but in some cases there is a deviation to the standard plot. In "The Sandwich," for example, the Thai protagonist describes a farang who attracts his attention: "There was a farang sitting at the table next to mine. He was strikingly handsome. . .in his early twenties, with a face and body and style of dress that could easily be a fashion model's. He was like those men in GQ, a men's fashion magazine from America" (29). The farang's stereotypical features, conforming to a generalized notion of western gay culture's aesthetics, are assumed to be erotic, and an American magazine contextualizes his appearance. The existence of this magazine in Thailand provides increasing vocabularies for narrating a desirable body. Consequently, this man is depicted as a prototype, possessing no attributes that mark him as more than an anonymous figure, eroticizing a foreign body in a manner similar to the western Orientalist practice of eroticizing stereotyped female Asian bodies. The author's attraction to this body leads, of course, to sex, but in this story he is "sandwiched" between this farang and his Thai companion. While self-identified gay Thai men often compete with each other for the attention of gay farang, here this does not occur. Instead, the narrator is "surprised to see the Thai standing there smiling" and inviting him along instead of "start[ing] a fight over him" (30). After the farang returns to France, the relationship continues between the two Thai men. Thus the standard erotic scenario shifts and mutual desire for a farang body provides the impetus for a relationship between two Thai men.

  29. While the white gay male body often holds a privileged aesthetic position in Bangkok's economies of desire, this situation can be adjusted. For example, Thai bodies can be eroticized by taking on a western athletic appearance. The following description of a Thai man can be found in "Chinese Battle Strategy Defeats the Dragon" by Wan in The Dove Coos: "He was very good-looking, and dressed sexy in a tank-top and tight cotton running shorts. . . the tall young man had a build that was made from disciplined training. He had broad shoulders, arms that revealed the thick sinews of muscle when he flexed, a chest that strained his tank top, and a slim waist atop beefy thighs" (50-1). The tight clothing and the muscular build resembles a stereotypical gay white man, contrasting with most Thai models in Thai gay magazines who are normally young, slender and boyish. By placing various western erotic stereotypes on a Thai body, Thai men produce new erotic possibilities among Thai men for Thai men (originally). The range of erotic possibilities is further enhanced when it is revealed that the body is that of a Thai banker. Working in a bank, as the editors of the anthology describe, has only recently become sexy: "the standard for male attractiveness among Thai gay men is the muscular, athletic type in his twenties. . . It is only recently that the businessman has become an erotic ideal, reflecting a shift in his status in Thai society" (13). Participating in international economies and attaining financial security furnish new erotically charged stations. And while interactions with international markets have increased the possibilities for gay Thai men to imagine, eroticize and desire, farang, too, have access to these representations of gay culture produced by Thais.

  30. Despite the proliferation of English language depictions of men having sex with men as well as the growing number of sexualized images, the objects of desire are still strictly coded in the Bangkok scene, and gay men can and do fall into prescribed positions. Thai men have many responses to the stereotypes projected upon them by farang gay men. Oad describes some expectations he perceives coming from white gay men:
    I have known so many westerners who are gay, and they came to Thailand just to find a lover. They want to find a lover that will be with them for the rest of their life. But they come here to Thailand, and they use their imagination and think that Thai boys are sweet or whatever. But I think eventually they see it's not true. I don't think it's easy to find that type of good Thai gay man. Most of them just want money from westerners. (interview)
    Oad says that Thai men involved with farang try to occupy this imaginary position, but, after a while, they normally fail to conform to the farang's preconceived image. At this point, relationships often flounder. Disappointed but not disillusioned, farang men frequently search out new Thai partners and uncritically reassert their stereotypical expectations.


  31. Thai language depictions of unusual sexes and sexualities such as those that appear in the magazine Plaek (Weird) have been immensely popular since the 1960s. But only in the past five years have the Bangkok Post and the Nation begun printing international wire service stories about sexuality, gender and gay people both inside and outside of Thailand. Wire service articles about gays in other cultures, hermaphrodites and other "exotic" sexes and sexualities[17] appeared simultaneously to discussions revealing and offering explanations about the presence of kathoey in Thailand. Both kinds of articles involve westerners: in the former, farang are subjects of scrutiny; in the latter they provide contextualization.[18] The plethora of recent pieces relate popular American films depicting gays,[19] festivals abroad,[20] and farang gay celebrities and their lives. In addition, articles covering incidents in Thailand such as "gender benders" ("Gender-Bending 'Barbies'"), press conferences on gender and sexuality,[21] and international pederasts (both gay and heterosexual) are now constants in the English language press.[22]

  32. English and Thai language presses have started to use the word "gay" to describe Thai men and boys who have sex with other men. With this come new forms of discrimination as well as new forums of discussion: in December 1996, the Bangkok Post and the Nation, as well as several Thai language newspapers reported that the Ratchabat Institute, Thailand's largest teachers' college, would begin enforcing its previously dormant policy banning enrollment and employment of "gays" or "homosexuals." The press's focus marks a shift from a kind of fascinated reporting in the Entertainment sections that, within Thailand, feature mostly kathoey, to feature articles that analyze what, if any, influence "gays" have on students they teach. As discussions of sexualities increasingly appear in the English language public sector, the terms "homosexual" and "gay" are being used to describe all men having sex with men, including kathoey. The escalating number and types of discussions of gay actions and figures in the press, as well as the use of the term to describe Thai men who are not part of the specific self-identified gay community, can lead to greater identification, community building and coalitions, but it can also instigate greater homophobia for self-identified gay Thai men, kathoey, and men who do not identify as gay.

  33. The reporting of this incident signals the important role played by the English language press's reporting about matters highlighting sexualities. In "Educating Desire," Rosalind Morris notes that while the ban was also reported in Thai language papers, discussion and criticism occurred mainly in the English language dailies (75). Sanitsuda Ekachai, the well-known editor of the Bangkok Post's "Outlook" section, usually writes features about the conditions of poor women and farmers in rural Thailand, assigning articles to be written about sexuality to her staff. However, in response the Ratchabat's announcement, she wrote and featured her own critique, signing her name to her protest. The English language press thus provides new forums for discussion and critique about issues concerning sexualities, increasing the number of people entering the discussion as well as strengthening the link with international gay communities.

  34. The constructions of these newly imagined positions, identities and practices in Bangkok are always in flux. As I have shown, the number of people discussing "gayness" continually expands. And established practices such as "The Show" at DJ Station frequently change, disrupting established routines and encouraging reevaluations of expectations. For example, on Halloween 1995, DJ Station was decorated with silver from floor to ceiling, the evening having been billed as "A Touch of Silver." About twenty Thai men and one farang expatriate sported elaborate costumes; some cross dressed while others resembled exotic birds or futuristic robots. On this night, the costumed guests became the show. They were called onto the stage by the two MCs. Most of the men in the club approached the stage to watch the proceedings, and farang constituted much of the audience. While the MCs interviewed the Thai men about their costumes in English, they spoke Thai only to the farang contestant, who acted as if he could not understand and encouraged teasing from the MCs and the audience. The posturing of this farang, a long time member of this scene, created an opportunity for Thai men to ridicule rather than show respect or sexual interest, the most frequent manners of interaction. The ways in which the men of the self-identified gay community in Bangkok describe themselves and present their sexualities augment and change in response to their sense of the community, which is becoming larger, more diverse and more established. Since this study, the Thai economy has experienced an incredible shake up and many previous economic practices and expectations have been reassessed and reformulated. These changing circumstances mark new opportunities, constraints, and factors to consider. Charting these trends and documenting the various articulations provide increased possibilities--both for imaging oneself and understanding others. If, as Law says, being gay enables him to change things, examining what constitutes these changes, whether imbibed or enacted, provides the means to understand and critique the position of self-identified gay Thai men in Bangkok.


Notes

  1. This quotation is from an interview with Law (not his real name) about how Thai men who do not identify as gay see the world. Funding for my research was provided by a Fulbright Research Grant. I would like to thank the many men who made this work possible by giving me extensive and thoughtful interviews, especially "Law" and "Oad." In addition, I want to thank a number of people who have offered generous and insightful comments on versions of this essay including Benedict Anderson and Anthony Alessandrini. Also, I extend respect and gratitude to Alexander Weheliye for countless readings, patient advice and invaluable suggestions. Back

  2. Rather than employing western words to note the many sites where information, ideas and people originate, I will use the Thai word farang (as a noun, both singular and plural and as an adjective), which is a Thai word that originally meant "French person" but has come to represent most non-Asians, especially Europeans and Americans, in Thailand. Thais have specific words to denote the race or ethnicity of other Asians: Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Laotians. South Asians, who have lived in Thailand for several centuries and have acted as trading partners with Thailand for longer are referred to as khon khek, or guests. The word farang is used constantly in Bangkok and throughout Thailand, so I will use this term rather than a non-Thai word to describe non-Asians in Bangkok since it affects how these groups of people are imagined by Thais and by themselves in Thailand. The word farang reflects how Thais conceptualize the recent (last 300 years) groups of peoples who have appeared in Thailand and imposed their economies and cultures upon (or at least positioned them in relation to) those of Thailand. Back

  3. For a thorough account of the economic and cultural changes in Thailand during this decade, see Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker's two publications: Thailand's Boom! and Thailand: Economy and Politics. Since the time of my research, the Thai economy has taken a drastic turn for the worse. The Baht, Thailand's monetary unit, was no longer valued according to a "basket" of currencies (the largest of which was the US Dollar). Floating freely in international currency markets resulted in a drastic, unforeseen devaluation. As a result, the I.M.F. began a bailout in December 1997. Back

  4. My archive includes informal conversations with over forty self-identified gay Thai men and twelve formal interviews, as well as discussions with approximately fifteen western men involved in this scene. I have also traced the representation of gayness in Thailand in English language texts available in Bangkok during the period of my research. All of this data was collected between August 1995 and June 1996, and in October 1996. Back

  5. One interesting result is the popularity of luk krung (biracial Thais). A large number of singers and actors in Thailand's prolific music, television and movie industries are of mixed race, and a significant number of them have been raised outside of Thailand. This marks a huge ideological shift; luk krung used to be vociferously rejected by Thai society because they symbolized a woman's involvement with a westerner, which alluded to prostitution. Until recently, most luk krung born in Thailand were not considered Thai citizens and were not entitled to government mandated education or health care. Back

  6. The Men Of Thailand Guide To Thailand 6. There are several points in this statement that I disagree with. While Thailand is remarkably less homophobic than many countries (illustrated by the common acknowledgement that three of the Thai Prime Ministers in the last twenty years have been known to have sex with men), self-identified gay Thai men still face homophobia and discrimination for several reasons: initially AIDS was presented as a "gay disease," and Thai men with farang are often assumed to be sex-workers worthy of disdain. Because of the relative silence about sexual actions, many farang believe that Thailand is a non-homophobic society; thus Thailand is often depicted by non-Thais as a gay paradise and many tourists come to Thailand specifically for this reason. By perceiving silence as freedom, visitors often do not realize the potential isolation, condemnation and rejection Thais face when they do not fulfill their parents' expectations as a result, either directly or indirectly, of their participation in the gay community. Back

  7. See Denis Segaller, William J. Klausner, and Robert and Nanthapa Cooper. Back

  8. That Law and two other men in his village find it important to build homes for their parents, an obligation once reserved for women, illustrates that the expectations for being a good Thai are also changing because, at least in part, of the increased opportunities for economic advancement. Historically, women and their husbands would inhabit and eventually inherit the parents' home and land. Thus it was their duty, and in their best interest, to improve it. Now, the child who achieves the most economic success should improve the lives of his/her parents. Back

  9. See Anderson's "The State of Thai Studies: The Studies of the Thai State" for a description of the racism involved in the concept of Thai-ness and the emphasis past scholarship has had in developing and defining Thai-ness. Back

  10. Anderson and Mendiones, In the Mirror: Politics in Siam in the American Era, and Suvanna Kriengkraipetch and Larry E. Smith, Value Conflicts in Thai Society: Agonies of Change Seen in Short Stories. In the latter work, analyses are grouped in the following categories: Traditions vs. Modernity, Individualism vs. Group Solidarity, New Barriers to Social Mobility, Role Conflicts of Women, and Ideological Confusion. The readings, as these headings suggest, highlight the conflicts in Thai values brought about by increased participation in the global economy. Back

  11. This included the opportunity for international travel and both national and international recognition. Oad's achievement was announced in the Thai and English language presses, as well as presses in Singapore, and he received an all-expense-paid trip to Singapore to meet with other Young Leaders and government officials from many Asian nations. Back

  12. Thais increasingly consider their ruins and traditional wooden structures to be important aesthetic achievements, enjoyable to visit and worth preserving rather than neglecting or destroying for modern constructions. This is promoted by the Tourist Authority of Thailand, which started to designate ruins as national monuments, promoting them as important historical sites and investing in their upkeep to increase tourism. While sometimes considered a strategy pandering to western tourists' expectations and practices (Thai people historically visited temples with famous monks), many Thai people are starting to visit ruins, and repair, rather than renovate, Thai temples. Back

  13. Mai-Tai's are sweet cocktails which farang tourists often order, assuming the name refers to a Thai origin. They are not a drink indigenous to Thailand yet are frequently available in bars, clubs and restaurants that cater to farang. Back

  14. "Three Sexes" 19. See this essay for a description of the history and position of kathoey in Thai society. For a discussion in which she complicates this strong assertion, revising her assertion that kathoey constitute a third sex, as well as providing additional analysis, refer to her more recent essay, "Educating Desire." More general descriptions of kathoey and how they are positioned in mainstream Thai society can be found in Dear Uncle Go and The Men of Thailand Guide to Thailand. Back

  15. Describing the current state of Thailand's economy, Teera Phutrakul, director of a Thai mutual fund, told the New York Times, "Once you call the I.M.F., the party's over" (Friedman). The following description of "the Show" occurred when "the party" was in full swing. Back

  16. Benedict Anderson provides the following explanation of the role class plays in how these men identify themselves:
    It isn't that kathoey have low social standing, but that only people of low social standing are kathoey. Class norms are such that effeminate middle class or upper class boys simply aren't permitted to dress in drag on an everyday basis. . . . Family status and respectability are at stake. . . "[G]ayness" is a middle class thing mainly, or a thing for people aspiring to middle class status. Insofar as kathoey equals lower class, you'd see why there might be a wish to stigmatize people too close to you. (personal correspondence) Back

  17. For example, "When Little Girls are Made of Boys" by Emily Hohler about a girl with male chromosomes, and "The Boy who Grew up into a Woman" about an American hermaphrodite who sat for Salvador Dali." Also Chakrvarty, "Eunuch Enters Fray in India General Election." Back

  18. The first article about kathoey, and any kind of same sex desire among Thais, appeared in 1992 by Malcolm Linton entitled "The Boys Who Steal the Show." Others appear periodically, such as "Crossing the Gender Divide" by Suda Kanjanawanawan (1995). Back

  19. Emily Smith, "Gender-Bending from Backstage to Limelight" about gays in Hollywood. Also, on November 3, 1995, there were 3 articles about gays in the west on one page in the Nation: "Hit Films Woo Mainstream public to London's Drag Clubs" by Joelle Diderich and "Hollywood Stars Stay in the Closet," and "The Gay Revolution," both by Georgette Gouveia. Back

  20. For example, "Festival puts Australia on Gay Tourist Map" by Michael Perry. Back

  21. Varaporn Chamsanit, "A Plea for Tolerance." This article reviews a press conference called "Gender Bending in Thailand" held in English at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand on 17 Jan. 1996. Back

  22. "Disc Jockeys charged with Procuring Boys," "Radio Pair to Go After Being Declared Undesirable Aliens" by Anan Paengnov, "Two DJs Declared Persona Non Grata," and many other stories about two farang DJs who had a daily show at a radio station in Bangkok appeared in October and November 1995. These DJs (Clifford R. J. Armstrong and Ian David Baker) were later deported to England after many reports questioning the validity of the charges including letters to the editor by the two men claiming their innocence. In addition, Australian diplomats were accused of paedophilia ("Inquiry into Paedophilia Diplomats Claim") and a German gay pederast was reported to have four boys aged 8-13 in his flat when he was arrested. He was jailed a record 43 years, the heaviest single sentence ever imposed on a foreigner. See "German Pederast Gets 43 Years," "German Paedophile is Jailed Record 43 Years," and, for more detailed reports and background information, Donald Wilson and David Henley's "Portrait of a Paedophile" and "Why Paedophiles Target Thailand." Back


Works Cited

Allyn, E.G. (based upon his text). The Men of Thailand Guide to Thailand. Ed. Samorn Chaiyana. 5th ed. Bangkok: Floating Lotus Press, 1995.

Allyn, E.G. and Peter Jackson. "The Emergence of Thai Gay Identity." Dear Uncle Go: Male Homosexuality in Thailand. By Peter Jackson. Bangkok: Bua Luang Books, 1995.

Anderson, Benedict R."Studies of the Thai State: The State of Thai Studies." The Study of Thailand: Analyses of Knowledge, Approaches, and Prospects in Anthropology, Art History, Economics, History and Political Science. Ed. Eliezer B. Ayal. Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1978.

---. Personal Correspondence. 16 May 1997.

Anderson, Benedict R. and Ruchira Mendiones. In the Mirror: Literature and Politics in Siam in the American Era. Bangkok: Editions Duang Kamol, 1995.

Armstrong, Clifford R. J. "FM107 Deejay." Nation 9 Nov.1995: A5.

Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1997.

"The Boy Who Grew Up into a Woman." Bangkok Post 15 Apr. 1996: 24.

Chakravarty, Pratap. "Eunuch Enters Fray in India General Election." Nation 7 May 1996: A11.

Chamsanit, Varaporn. "A Plea for Tolerance." Nation 28 Feb. 1996: C3.

Chiwit Nai Chat or Life in the Nation [my translation]. Thailand: Thai government.

Cooper, Robert and Nanthapa. Culture Shock!: Thailand. 2nd ed. Portland, Oregon: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1990.

Diderich, Joelle. "Hit Films Woo Mainstream Public to London's Drag Clubs." Nation 3 Nov. 1995: C3.

"Disc Jockeys Charged with Procuring Boys." Nation 18 Oct. 1995: D3.

The Dove Coos: Gay Experiences by The Men of Thailand. Trans. Nukul Benchamat and Somboon Inpradith. Ed. E.G. Allyn. Bangkok: Bua Luang Publishing, 1992.

Ekachai, Sanitsuda. "Commentary." Bangkok Post 2 Jan. 1997.

Friedman, Thomas L. "The Thai Bind." New York Times 11 Dec. 1997: A27.

"Gender Bending 'Barbies' Keep Fans Guessing." Nation 19 Mar. 1996: C2.

"German Paedophile is Jailed Record 43 Years." Nation 14 Mar. 1996: A1+.

"German Pederast gets 43 Years." Bangkok Post 14 Mar. 1996: 1.

Gouveia, Georgette. "The Gay Revolution." Nation 3 Nov. 1995: C3

---. ."Hollywood Stars Stay in the Closet." Nation 3 Nov. 1995: C3.

Hohler, Emily. "When Little Girls are Made of Boys." Nation 10 Mar. 1996: C10.

"Inquiry into Paedophile Diplomats Claim." Bangkok Post 22 Apr. 1996: 1.

Jackson, Peter. Dear Uncle Go: Male Homosexuality in Thailand. Bangkok: Bua Luang Publishing, 1995.

Kanjanawanawan, Suda. "Crossing the Gender Divide." Bangkok Post 12 Aug. 1995: 31.

Klausner, William J. Reflections on Thai Culture. Bangkok: The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage, 1993.

Kriengkraipetch, Suvanna and Larry E. Smith. Value Conflicts in Thai Society: Agonies of Change Seen in Short Stories. Bangkok: Social Research Institute of Chulalongkorn University, n.d.

Law [not real name]. Series of personal interviews. Bangkok: Aug. 1995 - May 1996.

Linton, Malcolm. "The Boys Who Steal the Show." Bangkok Post 2 Aug. 1992: 27+.

Morris, Rosalind C. "Educating Desire: Thailand, Transnationalism, and Transgression." Social Text 52/53 15:3-4 (1997): 53-79.

---. "Three Sexes and Four Sexualities: Redressing the Discourses on Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Thailand." Positions 2.1 (1994): 15-43.

Oat [not real name]. Series of personal interviews. Bangkok: Aug 1995 - June 1996.

Paengnov, Anan. "Radio Pair to Go After Being Declared Undesirable Aliens." Nation 9 Nov. 1995: A2.

Perry, Michael. "Festival Puts Australia on Gay Tourist Map." Bangkok Post 5 Mar. 1996: 36.

Phongpaichit, Pasuk and Chris Baker. Thailand's Boom! Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm Press, 1996.

---. Thailand: Economy and Politics. Oxford, Oxford UP, 1995.

"Seen Through the Eyes of Thai Parents." Bangkok Post 21 June 1995: 31.

Segaller, Denis. Thai Ways. 3rd ed. Bangkok: Post Books, 1993.

Smith, Emily. "Gender-Bending from Backstage to Limelight." Bangkok Post 19 Apr. 1996: 32+.

Thailand in the 90s. Rev. ed. Thailand: National Identity Board, 1995.

"Two DJs Declared Persona Non Grata." Bangkok Post 9 Nov. 1995: 1.

van Wijngaarden, Jan W. de Lind. "A Social Geography of Male Homosexual Desire: An Exploration of Locations, Individuals, Groups and Networks in the Context of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Northern Thailand." Shifting Sexualities Panel. 6th International Conference of Thai Studies. Chiang Mai, Thailand. 15 Oct. 1996.

"When Little Girls are Made of Boys." Nation 10 Mar. 1996: C10.

Wilson, Donald and David Henley. "Portrait of a Paedophile." Bangkok Post 3 Mar. 1996: 19+.

____. "Why Paedophiles Target Thailand." Bangkok Post 3 Mar. 1996: 24.

Winichakul, Thongchai. Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-body of a Nation. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Press, 1994.


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