I’m not sure where to begin here. I just arrived back in Vietnam from Thailand, where I spent the last week working on a new personal project, currently tentatively titled Some Girls. Centered around ladyboys and transgenders in Thailand. I’m still figuring out how to write about it. I went in with notions that weren’t entirely correct, about divisions and discrimination. What I found challenged a lot of what I had read beforehand. So the project transformed. And I guess is still transforming, as I go through the edit. So I’ll spare everyone the half-baked ideas and stunted stories until I’ve had a bit more time with it all.
For now meet Ant. She’s a singer at a traditional Isaan club in Bangkok. She’s 21 years old and has been taking hormones to become a woman since she was 12, in the form of simple, over-the-counter birth control pills. She was kind enough to invite me into her home and backstage at her place of work to take pictures and talk to her about her decision to become a woman. She grew up in northeastern Thailand and moved to Bangkok at age 15. She knew she wanted to be a woman from her first memories. Or rather she knew that she was a woman. Some girls are born boys. She’s never known any other feelings. She’s young and very feminine. Perhaps most so of all the people that I encountered on my trip. Or at least it seemed to come most naturally to her.
Her room was covered in cartoon characters and stuffed animals and glittery stage outfits. She sat pensively on the edge of her bed to be photographed. Though she readily showed me several albums of her in more provocative poses, used as advertisements for her job at the club. I wanted something more innocent that showed her youth and femininity. So here are the first few photographs.