Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Hermaphrodite: Parinya Charoenphol
Parinya Kiatbusaba or Parinya Charoenphol (born 1981), more popularly known as Nong Thoom, Nong Toom or Nong Tum (), is probably the best-known kathoey (male-to-female transgendered person) in Thailand. She is a former Muay Thai (Thai boxing) champion and has also worked as a model and actress.
As a young boy, she was already aware of her gender-identity. After a short period as a Buddhist monk, she started to train as a boxer, and eventually joined a boxing camp in Chonburi. Her goal was to make enough money to support her poor parents and to pay for a sex-change operation.
Her public life began in February 1998, with a victory in Bangkok's Lumpini Boxing Stadium, the center of the Muay Thai world. The Thai media were understandably intrigued by the novelty and incongruity of a make-up wearing 16-year-old kathoey, or "lady boy", defeating and then kissing a larger, more muscular opponent.
Although the Thai government had previously blocked kathoey athletes from participating in the national volleyball team for fear of negative reaction from the rest of the world, the Muay Thai establishment embraced Nong Toom, and tourism officials promoted her as "indicative of the wonders to be found" in Thailand. Perhaps not coincidentally, Muay Thai had been in a several-year slump at the time, and Nong Toom had greatly revitalized both media and public interest in the sport, as shown by increased ticket sales and stadium revenue.
She was profiled in several magazines, and appeared in many Thai music videos. Subsequently, her public profile began to fade, but her bouts with a foreigner, as well as her trip to Japan to fight a Japanese challenger, kept her face in the news. By fall of 1998, there was little coverage of Nong Toom to be found in either the mainstream or boxing media.
In 1999, Nong Toom caused considerable publicity by announcing her retirement from kick boxing, her intention to become a singer, and her plan to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Initially she was turned down by some of the Bangkok surgeons she turned to, but then the surgery was performed in 1999.
at 5:41 AM