Date on Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Thailand; Kathoey; Transnational Advocacy; Gender
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the politics and conceptualization of gender in Thailand, drawing specifically on the Thai understanding of sex and gender with regard to the kathoey population. This work considers the solidification of a third-gender category and looks to the ways this solidification can inhibit the fluidity of gender and sexuality. It also analyzes the dangers of transnational advocacy and the superimposition of Western queer advocacy and theory on Thai gender identities. I approach this issue from an interdisciplinary framework that seeks to include historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives. In examining anthropological research, critiques of queer colonialism, and public discourse with regard to the kathoey, I conclude by offering an argument against transnational advocacy and by extrapolating on the dangers of viewing the kathoey from a Western theoretical lens.
Mayes, Macey E., "On the politics and conceptualization of gender non-conformity : exploring Thailand’s kathoey population." (2018). College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. Paper 208.
Retrieved from https://ir.library.louisville.edu/honors/208
This thesis investigates gender in Thailand, specifically with regard to the Thai kathoey—a population of individuals in Thailand which generally encompasses all third gender categories, referring to “all non-normative gender presentations and sexualities beyond heterosexual male and female." Through analyzing the work of several scholars, this thesis considers the increasing visibility of kathoey and includes a historical overview of this population, its contribution to shifts in Thai nationalism, and how it fits into the ever-shifting genderscapein Thailand. This work also compares Western theories/categories of sexuality and gender with Eastern theories/categories of sexuality and gender, specifically with regard to Thailand’s unique political climate, social and moral standards, and culture. I conclude by offering an argument against transnational advocacy and by extrapolating on the dangers of viewing the kathoey from a Western theoretical lens, specifically with regard to the ways in which the implementation of “universal” goals can delegitimize, reduce, and endanger the Eastern queer experience.
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