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Can I move to thailand and fight professionally as a trans woman fighting men? Should a Farang identify themselves as kathoey or is this a cultural identity?


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I love fighting more than anything else. There is not much chance of a career for anyone trans or cis in my local scene, in MMA or Muay Thai. Both scenes are relatively non-existent. I am trying to move somewhere I can pursue this goal, and Angie, Rose, and Nong-thoom are huge inspirations to me. Is this path viable in Thailand as a Farang? I have researched logistics of moving and read a lot of others experiences in addition to Sylvie's own advice but remain unsure about the overall viability of training and fighting traditional stadium Muay Thai as a western trans woman. 

Additionally I have a lot of questions about how to identify myself as trans, as a farang. I want to be as honest and clear as possible with my trainers and potential coaches and would kill for some insight as to how to approach this issue sensitively without appropriating the Kathoey label if it is cultural. Google has not been clear on this topic, eek. 

Thank you!
 

 

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I think Sylvie's advice is the most solid one. I got one too, ended up not following it, can't say it was a smart thing to ignore it, but yolo I guess 🙄 I can only talk about my very (very very 🙂 ) limited experience... and not on a public forum, will be happy to [over]share in DMs though.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/27/2023 at 12:28 AM, Rosethorn said:

I love fighting more than anything else. There is not much chance of a career for anyone trans or cis in my local scene, in MMA or Muay Thai. Both scenes are relatively non-existent. I am trying to move somewhere I can pursue this goal, and Angie, Rose, and Nong-thoom are huge inspirations to me. Is this path viable in Thailand as a Farang? I have researched logistics of moving and read a lot of others experiences in addition to Sylvie's own advice but remain unsure about the overall viability of training and fighting traditional stadium Muay Thai as a western trans woman. 

Additionally I have a lot of questions about how to identify myself as trans, as a farang. I want to be as honest and clear as possible with my trainers and potential coaches and would kill for some insight as to how to approach this issue sensitively without appropriating the Kathoey label if it is cultural. Google has not been clear on this topic, eek. 

Thank you!
 

 

Kathoey is not a Thailand-specific cultural identity, so you can use this word for yourself here without any problem. It's not the most polite word, but it is the most common word and speaking to your trainers and promoters, this is the word everyone will use. It is also how Trans folks here refer to themselves, outside of formal writing. I think your chances would be best for fighting up in the North, in Chiang Mai, as there are so many stadia, fights almost every night, and the levels are along a spectrum. There are a number of Kathoey fighters active right now up in the North, sometimes coming down to fight in Bangkok, but with good recognition and presence in the stadia of Chiang Mai. You could also go specifically to train with Nong Toom at her gym in Bangkok. That will absolutely provide a supportive training environment and Parinya (Nong Toom) will have the kinds of connections you'd need to fight, but the opportunities would likely be less frequent than in Chiang Mai. I also am catching myself as I'm saying this, because even though there are tons of fights in Chiang Mai and they won't be making a big deal about your gender, there is never any guarantee that opponents will be available for anyone all the time; it will depend on size and skill matching.

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7 hours ago, Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Kathoey is not a Thailand-specific cultural identity, so you can use this word for yourself here without any problem. It's not the most polite word, but it is the most common word and speaking to your trainers and promoters, this is the word everyone will use. It is also how Trans folks here refer to themselves, outside of formal writing. I think your chances would be best for fighting up in the North, in Chiang Mai, as there are so many stadia, fights almost every night, and the levels are along a spectrum. There are a number of Kathoey fighters active right now up in the North, sometimes coming down to fight in Bangkok, but with good recognition and presence in the stadia of Chiang Mai. You could also go specifically to train with Nong Toom at her gym in Bangkok. That will absolutely provide a supportive training environment and Parinya (Nong Toom) will have the kinds of connections you'd need to fight, but the opportunities would likely be less frequent than in Chiang Mai. I also am catching myself as I'm saying this, because even though there are tons of fights in Chiang Mai and they won't be making a big deal about your gender, there is never any guarantee that opponents will be available for anyone all the time; it will depend on size and skill matching.

Thank you, this is an invaluable response and extremely useful. Of course, opportunities are never guaranteed but just knowing where I have the best odds of finding fights is invaluable. Thank you for the response Sylvie.

Edited by Rosethorn
Rephrasing for clarity
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