Identity Crisis: Transsexual series

According to a recent survey, there are between 10,000 and 100,000 transsexuals living in Thailand,
including a number of singers, television and movie stars. Transsexuals are integrated into the urban and
rural scene and are not singled out for abusive treatment in the course of their daily lives. Thailand’s first
sex change surgery was performed in 1972, and the country now sees more of these procedures performed
each year than any other country in the world. In recent years gay youths in Thailand, some as young as
12, have taken the extreme measure to identify themselves as women by having their testicles removed
and taking female hormones in preparation for an operation to become female. The situation has
generated much criticism and debate regarding legal issues and society’s responsibility toward these
young men. The number of transsexuals and their identity crisis is increasing, raising questions about
culture, the media, and the general perception of transsexuals in Thailand, and around the world.

 

Identity Crisis: Transsexual seeks to understand Thailand’s transsexuals from a fresh perspective. I want
to approach this subject in a different and more complex way than in any of my past work. To date, there
has been no single project focusing exclusively on these transsexuals. While artists who have documented
this group have found transsexuals visually intriguing, these transsexuals have been viewed and
photographed exclusively as examples of isolated exotica. Identity Crisis: Transsexual signifies something
far different for me personally and as a photographer. The complexity of being transsexual in Thai society
and the lives these individuals lead goes far beyond exotic imagery. My goal is to present transsexuals as
psychologically complex human-beings and to allow them to reveal the reality of their self-identification.

 

The project utilizes multiple approaches―ethnographic, sociological and psychological―to gain a deeper
understanding of who transsexuals are and how they live in Thailand.

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