If you don’t know what the inside of one of those gateways to Heaven, otherwise known as a ladyboy bar, is really like, I hope this little video will help you visualise the legions of loveliness that populate them. I found the video a few years ago and decided to re-edit it to Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’. It’s an all-time favourite and frankly, is far more in tune with the passionate yelps of a toothsome young transgirl in bed than the music the video originally had!
You’ll need a ‘guest-friendly’ hotel, if you don’t use one of the ubiquitous short-time hotels which are, by definition, open to customers bringing along a girl or three. Although generally, budget hotels are fine, it’s probably better to avoid those run by farangs. I have to say, with regret, that the only time I’ve ever had any real issues with ladyboys in bars, restos or hotels in southeast Asia, it has been in establishments run by that species of bigoted Australian male who would, frankly, have been better left as a stain on his mother’s bedsheets.
Ladyboys are like hobbits; they have big feet. Although, and fortunately, not usually hairy.
My dearest and truest friend, my distant confidante and beloved adopted sister, Andie, is sitting on the brown vinyl sofa in my rented condo in Pasig. She has delicately hoisted the hem of her long floral skirt with one hand and with the other she is holding one of her slippers — flipflops in Filipino — against her leg.
‘Ugh,’ she says. ‘You see? My feet are longer than half the length of my shin.’
She drops the slipper and the hem and takes to regarding her feet with evident distaste, elbow on knee, chin cupped in her hand. She wiggles her toes.
‘I could possibly cut them off,’ she muses. ‘I should cut them off.’
On the 25th of February, we went to Malolos, the capital of Bulacan, to see a ladyboy parade; but it never appeared. Ladyboy levels of disorganisation are, of course, legendary, in addition to which, they were probably working on Filipino time, which makes ‘manana’ sound urgent. Still, a couple of nice cold Red Horses and some good pictures.
All Pix: Rod Fleming
Street photography, long established as an art and a specialist form of photojournalism, requires very similar techniques to those needed to photograph field sports, notably football (soccer, not that American nonsense). You need sharp reactions, complete confidence in technique and total reliance on reflex. As soon as you see an image, it’s gone, so you just have to go with it.
Markets everywhere are wonderful for this sort of thing. They’re very colourful and people are concentrating on selling, not watching the photographer. I was using a DSLR for most of these, with no issues. As usual with digital, you have to watch the exposure. I find using the old tranny technique of underexposing by 2/3 of a stop is useful in holding highlight detail.
Gallery 1: Malolos
Gallery 2: Malolos Palenke
Please feel free to download and use these pictures for your website or personal projects. Commercial licences are available by agreement, please contact me using the contact form below. Please consider donating towards the cost of maintaining this website.
Any man who willingly has sex with a woman is NOT homosexual. Period. That is because ‘homosexual’ means ‘someone exclusively attracted to same sex from childhood’. A man who willingly has sex with both men and women is bisexual, irrespective of how he describes himself. That applies also to those men who ‘discover’ they are ‘gay’ in later life, after years of marriage. They’re bisexual, not homosexual.
Homosexual male does not equal ‘gay’
Homosexual males are attracted to masculinity, because they have an inversion of sexuality. However, ‘gay’ is actually a lifestyle which comprises homosexual men but also bisexuals, ephebephiles and hebophiles (attracted to teenage boys, basically) non-trans autogynephiles whose fetish for ‘being a woman’ is being penetrated, super-masculine narcissistic homosexuals and even others. And these are all real things, not airhead genders. There is no one ‘homosexual’ lifestyle, despite the ongoing efforts of the New Gay Man thought police to ensure everyone (actually, everyone at all) is properly ensconced under their appropriate label in the LBTQalphabet permitted lifestyle and orientation set.
Social division into ‘men’ and ‘not men’ groups, together with a domestic matriarchy, explains why transsexual expressions in SE Asia differ from the West.
Male to Female transsexuals are normally scientifically categorised as homosexual or nonhomosexual with regard to their birth sex. I use the term HSTS for the former. Blanchard explained the latter in terms of autogynephilia, love of oneself as a woman. These we term autogynephiles or AGPs. There is a discrepancy, between the West and Asia, however. Whereas in the West, most AGPs are older and about 60% seek relationships with women, most AGPs in Asia transition much younger and are almost exclusively attracted to men. Why is this happening?
So you’re planning to meet some ladyboys in Pattaya? Read this. Pattaya is home to some of the yummiest trannies in the region and its reputation as a ladyboy-friendly tourist resort brings huge numbers of young transsexuals to the city, as well as legions of men anxious to taste this most prized and precious of tropical fruit.
The whole of south-east Asia is remarkable for its highly visible populations of transsexual women. These are not at all the same as you may be used to thinking of, if you are a Westerner. They’re not like Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner. (See my discussions on Ray Blanchard for more details.)
Ladyboys in Thailand and across Asia are not like that at all. They are beautiful and very sexy. They are extremely feminine in appearance and manners. From their early teens they use female hormones, often birth control pills which are freely available without prescription. These can turn them into staggeringly beautiful women. And the fact is that many men are powerfully attracted to them.
My plan had originally been to make my trip to Asia after Christmas, but Crissy had told me that she was unlikely to be available then. I was in contact with a number of girls, but only she had that spark, and I knew I wanted to meet her. She was lively and enthusiastic, but had an edge about her and a depth too, that I liked. She had a way of just knowing what I was thinking, even before I said it, that always bodes well for a new relationship.
So I rearranged my schedule. In fact, November is the best time to go to southeast Asia in any case. The typhoon season should have come to an end, and the temperatures are relatively low, with lots of sunshine. In addition, flight prices are twenty per cent or so cheaper then, than in March or April. I readily persuaded myself that making the trip sooner was justified on a whole raft of counts; other, of course, than my interest in getting to know Crissy a whole lot better…
‘It’s as if a couple of jumbo-jets of Western culture crashed into a container-ship of Asia and the wreckage is still settling.’ These words jump out at me as I read over my notes. And it’s true; the Philippines is a cultural conundrum, a Rubik’s Cube of interlaced and interlocked themes, memes, images and sensations.
It’s not like India, where the veneer of Westernism added by a couple of hundred years of British domination is so thin it seems as flimsy as a bride’s veil, yet definitely attached, as if the bride herself is shy about lifting it, nor Thailand, where Western cultural influences seem grafted on, bizarrely co-exiting with something older and fundamentally opposed. Instead, the Philippines is a genuine melting-pot, a sculptor’s crucible where metallic elements are alloyed to make something completely new. The roots of European culture here go deep, deep into the fertile soil of Asia, and the resulting foliage is strange, at once familiar yet surprising.