March 1st, 2007
View Additional Images from this Series
Keywords: sex worker, karaoke, chiang mai
Doi, a transgendered woman who works in outreach for the Thai NGO Mplus, has an evening job preparing the women of Section Eight at the Violin Bar in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Located near the airport, the Violin Bar is both a dance club and karaoke bar. Section Eight consists of an average of 10-12 girls aged 15-22 years who provide entertainment and waitress the karaoke rooms.
Doi works close to two hours each evening doing the girls’ makeup and styling. For this she earns 1000 Baht per person per month; this comes to about 12,000 Baht ($370 USD), roughly double the average Thai monthly salary.
Many of the girls are freelance sex workers, or ‘bar girls’, who make their own arrangements with customers for a ‘date.’ Those customers tend to be predominantly Thai, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese.
For Doi, her own experience with sexual identity, and the emotional scars of an acquaintance rape, help make her a good mentor for other transgendered people. Her parents, including her police officer father, are supportive of her as are the staff of Mplus who utilize her skills and university studies for the organizations outreach. Mplus is a Thai NGO with a health clinic for sexually transmitted infections and a community center for gay, transgendered, and male sex workers.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!