Home » Culture, Television
24 March 2011, 1:00 pm 2 Comments

TV: Thai Trans Singer’s Got Talent, But What About Progress?

This post was submitted by Topher Burns

This video of a transgendered Thai singer wowing the judges and studio audience of Thailand’s Got Talent made the rounds earlier this week, but even if you’ve already seen it I think it’s worth a second look.

Nong Tum, arguably Thailands most recognizable Kathoey courtesy wikimedia commons)

It’s delightful to see that when the big “reveal” happens, the judges and audience seem to generally be pleasantly surprised.  Thai culture is definitely more accustomed to trans females (eg: the publicly recognized culture of kathoey), but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t a certain amount of societal shame attached to being a non-masculine male.  Thus, I was happy to see the singer treated with respect (the hosts referred to her as “her” rather than stumbling through awkward non-gendered pronouns or only using her name) and acknowledged for her talent.

Whenever trans individuals, from any sector of such a wide spectrum, are featured on TV in a positive light it feels like a step in the right direction.  I’d argue that RuPaul’s Drag Race, though not addressing transgender issues directly, certainly helps to humanize the gigantic grey area between black and white gender concepts.  [Also, side note, is it just me or did Drag Race JUST start being good like last week?]

I think moments like this are great indications of progress.  Both in Thailand and America there are plenty of misconceptions and prejudices that remain about transgendered individuals, but every time a talented trans person bravely stands up and says “this is who I am and I’m not ashamed” it seems to push the scale a little closer toward acceptance.  And whether or not you think this singer’s appearance on the show is a true sign of progress, you can’t deny that it’s nice to finally see someone pop up on one of these shows who actually DOES got talent.

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  • Jen Janice Mohamed said:

    Thanks for sharing this posting, its really great to see her going through and a chance is given to a sexually challenged person to realise her dreams.

    Being a trans myself, this is truly heartwarming.


  • Fernando veríssimo said:

    uauuuuu…essa é muuito linda….imagina o penis como deve ser lindo..moreninho..com aquela pele linda cobrindo a cabeça bem vermelha e cheirosa…rs…adoooraria ficar cheirando seu penis….seu cú…seu pé…hummmmmmmm