Boys Will Be Girls: Bangkok, The Sex-Change Capital of Asia

Bangkok may be the sex-change capital of Asia, but transgenders—also called "the third sex" and "ladyboys"—still live on the fringes, often denied secure work that pays and anything resembling acceptance. A ray of hope: At Suan Dusit University, a new initiative to openly recruit ladyboys has drawn 100 of them to the school, where they can wear the girls' uniform and behave "like ladies" without facing discrimination, and where other transgenders teach and serve as role models. "I couldn't wait to come here," says 21-year-old Wittaya Jannoi, a pretty, hormone-enhanced marketing major who hopes to have a sex change after graduation. "We can be ourselves, because we don't have to hide."

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