Thai Airline Hires Transsexual Flight Crew

What do you do when you take a big step toward advancing equal rights? Congratulate yourself of course! The president of new Thai airline PC Air is justifiably proud and called himself a “pioneer” after hiring transsexuals as flight attendants.

Peter Chan says PC Air has hired six of the “third sex” for crew and will continue recruitment driven by a belief in equal rights, Yahoo News reports.

“I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business, and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess. I just made their dream come true,” he told AFP. “Our society has changed — it’s evolution. I’m an pioneer, and I’m sure there will be (other) organizations following my idea.”

For those not in the know, Thailand is a veritable haven for transsexuals, with one of the largest populations of such individuals and a reputation for cheap and quick sex change techniques.

However you don’t have to be a transsexual to work with PC Air, you’ve just got to pass the normal tests of having useful language skills and good service.

“When it’s their dream job or the job they love, they can do it even better,” Chan said.

Out of the more than 100 transsexual job applicants, one of those hired includes Thanyarat “Film” Jiraphatpakorn, winner of the Miss Tiffany beauty pageant in 2007, according to a report in Thailand’s Nation newspaper.

“At first I thought they would just take applications but not actually recruit us, as happened at other places before,” said the new flight attendant, 23.

PC Air hopes to be hitting the friendly skies by April with charter flights across Asia.

Thai air boss hails first transsexual cabin crew [Yahoo News]

Comments

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  1. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Oh that is IT. When I’m on an airline, I have a right to definitively know the actual sex of the flight attendant that I am harassing. What if I am mislead to grab the ass of some ladyboy? HEADS WILL ROLL!!!

    • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

      You didn’t say that about the last LadyBoy ass you grabbed on your last flight…Relax!

    • NickelMD says:

      In which case I have the right to know your complete medical and surgical history as well.

      Fortunately for you and the women you would like to harass that is private information. But hey, if you want to be a trans-phobic ass, please feel free to drive.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …is there honestly not enough sarcasm dripping from my OP? What is it with people that can’t grasp the intent of a sarcastic remark unless you tag it with something like “/sarcasm?”

      • jesirose says:

        Hey doctor, welcome to the internets. Heard of google yet? Try using it to search for “sarcasm”.

      • seanhcalgary says:

        Wow.

        Just, wow.

        Talk about completely not getting the joke. Incredible. You must lead a very boring life.

      • MTFaye says:

        Thanks for standing up. Its hard to come by allies, and our community greatly appreciates the ones we have.

      • Eli the Ice Man says:

        Is it your personal mission to stamp out every utterance someone might find offensive on this subject? The guy made a joke, and a funny one at that! Lighten up!

    • MTFaye says:

      I think he understood the sarcasm, but didn’t find it funny. Neither did I.

    • Youngfrankenstein says:

      ;) THAT was funny!

  2. jamar0303 says:

    So, how ’bout America? Is the fact that we hear nothing of the sort from, say, Delta or United due to the fact that they do so enough that it’s a non-issue to them or because it’s an unspoken no-no?

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      I thought Delta and United only used 40+ year old women?

      • jamar0303 says:

        Then again, given some of their attitudes, are you sure they’re women? At least on airlines like Singapore there’s no ambiguity, for better or worse.

        • richcreamerybutter says:

          It’s the Godwin’s Law of flight attendant articles; how many letters in before, “the crew should only consist of young, attractive women” sentiment is typed from some basement.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    That’s Thailand for you.

    • Alecto says:

      More progressive than we are?

    • NickelMD says:

      Yes, like many of the more advanced developing nations, leaving the US in the dust when it comes to progressive ideals and equality.

      • pop top says:

        How is it progressive to make transsexuals into some sort of sideshow attraction?

        • MTFaye says:

          Considering how hard it is to get a job and keep a job when you’re trans, being a sideshow isn’t a bad alternative to a lot. Its better than being a prostitute, which is one of the only job opportunities available to a lot of trans people, because of rampant protected discrimination in housing, and employment.

        • stormbird says:

          I don’t think it’s about exploiting the transsexuals but more about equality and Thailand being very trans-friendly (except for trans-fat, of course- when will the oppression end?). Is it sexist/homophobic/trans-gender phobic to suggest that transsexual cabin crew would tend to be more charming and attentive to passengers if far, far inferior in the Mile High Club part of the job.

      • lawgirl502 says:

        maybe you might want to move there….do us a favor

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Given there are protections in place from asking about certain things in the U.S., there are most likely transexuals hired as domestic flight attendents as we speak.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      As transsexuals aren’t a protected class (in most cities, at least), it isn’t legal to ask about it, nor is it illegal to fire them.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Isn’t *IL*legal to ask about it. I loathe this commenting system.

      • Alecto says:

        Actually, if they have been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, it can be considered a violation of the ADA.

        • kathygnome says:

          No, the ADA explicitly excludes transpeople.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            citation?

            • NickelMD says:

              Hong, K. E. (2002). “Categorical exclusions: Exploring legal responses to health care discrimination against transsexuals”. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 11, 88–126.

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                Darn, I only have the Harvard Journal of Gender and Law on me right now.

                Got a link?

          • stormbird says:

            The ADA was written in 1990. I don’t think that it was a conscious omission; upper-class white people were very insulated from reality. The same people in government didn’t notice the Soviet Union was falling apart at the time. That was also the year I had my first gay friend and my roommate wouldn’t let him in the dorm room because teh ghey might be catching. It was a different time

        • MTFaye says:

          I’m trans, and am pretty active in the trans community. I can’t cite the law, but I know from experience that ADA does not apply in this case.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        It is illegal to ask your gender, as both male and female are protected classes.

        • Alter_ego says:

          That may be illegal (I’m really not sure), but in most states (37, to be exact) there are no laws protecting gender identity from discrimination in housing, or employment. So you can’t fire someone for being a woman, but you can fire them for identifying them as a woman, when their biological sex is male, and vice versa.

    • MTFaye says:

      While that very well may be true, take it from a trans girl here: they don’t have to ask to know. Background checks will reveal that.

  5. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t care what color, sex or religion people are as long as they aren’t jerks.

  6. iParadox{InLove} says:

    It’s a trap!

  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It’s a marketing ploy for an airline that’s doomed to failure. One of the investors is a fortune teller and the other has background in real estate. Neither has airline experience and they bought used instead of leasing (the normal course for start-up carriers). First flight expected in April.

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/218188/new-thai-airline-dares-to-be-different

    http://www.pcairline.com (website registered in Nov 2010)

  8. RandomHookup says:

    Sitting back, waiting for the “cockpit” jokes.

    • TerpBE says:

      It took engineers years to figure out how to redesign the plane so that the cockpit is tucked under the fuselage.

  9. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Doesn’t this violate some commandment, “Thou shalt not bear falsies against thy neighbors”? (Thanks, Archie Bunker!)

  10. ARP says:

    It’s good that he/she is able to work in a customer facing position without being on stage or the subject of ridicule (at least by the employer).

    As long as the flight attendants are helpful and polite, I don’t care what gender/sex they are.

    • MTFaye says:

      If they identify as female, “she” will do. Writing “he/she,” or actually saying it to describe someone can be demeaning and embarrassing to a lot of transsexuals.

    • Alisha Gray says:

      I get the meaning behind your comment and appreciate it, but the proper way to refer to a trans person is by the gender they identify with and present as. Calling me ‘he/she’ to my face is a good way to get a kick in the balls…

  11. pop top says:

    There’s no need to write he/she if someone is a MtF transsexual. They are living as a woman, so you can refer to them as such. They’re not genderqueer or anything.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      It will do.

      • pop top says:

        What will it do?

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          “IT” ;)

          • MTFaye says:

            Thats dehumanizing and insensitive.

            • White Scorpion says:

              Tht’s wht cll hm r hr tht prtnds t b hr r hm. T s s mch smplr.

              • White Scorpion says:

                How was someone else able to disemvowel my comment? And why? Is that supposed to have some kind of meaning here on Consumerist?

                • Alisha Gray says:

                  It means you were an offensive asshole and people reported you as such. The editors reviewed your comment and agreed with us, and it acts as a warning that you should change your ways.

                  • White Scorpion says:

                    I was simply responding to someone who had already made the statement about calling trannys “IT”. So why alter mine?

                    • Alisha Gray says:

                      You were saying that transgendered people are pretending to be the gender they have transitioned to. You also referred to us as ‘trannys’ (sic) which is one of those words that is generally considered to be horribly offensive to trans people.

                    • White Scorpion says:

                      Whatever! People get offended by something said every day, but they’re only words which can’t physically harm anyone and are protected by free speech.

      • Alisha Gray says:

        That’s not funny at all. It’s dehumanizing, offensive, and just plain rude.

  12. Hoss says:

    “I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business”

    Now there’s someone that’s a civil rights advocate!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Obviously, trannies are only capable of working in drag shows, and midgets can only be actors as comic relief.

      • lawgirl502 says:

        Now wait, that’s unfair-transgendered or transsexuals can also star on the real Housewives of Atlanta too

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Eh, I can see the point; often, transgendered people are viewed as curiosities and oddities and so it’s possible they tend to find more employment in jobs where their ‘weirdness’ is the main selling point, as opposed to being ordinary people who might have career goals that are boring or average.

    • NickelMD says:

      Actually that is. For many transgender women, work options include: performer, hairdresser, or sex-worker. I have patients who are degreed professionals (with readily marketable skills) that are unable to get a job because of pure anti-trans bias. So stating that transgender women should be able to get jobs as more than just entertainers is a social justice issue.

      • RandomHookup says:

        My primary care physician is MtF, though she waited until her 50s to make the switch. Being self-employed (and in a high demand profession) obviously helps.

      • White Scorpion says:

        The article is about transsexuals, not transgenders. Isn’t there a difference…..like transsexuals pretend to be the opposite sex and transgenders have actually changed their equipment?

        • Alisha Gray says:

          Transgendered people have feelings of gender dysphoria. Transsexuals go through transition to whatever degree in order to fix said dysphoria.

          So for instance, I have been transgendered for my entire life, but now that I am living as a woman and going through transition, I am a transsexual.

          • White Scorpion says:

            So what is someone called when they have had all the surgery to appear to be the opposite sex of their birth?

  13. Nick says:

    This is good. I’m above not having a problem with it.

  14. JulesNoctambule says:

    All I care about is whether or not they serve food, and if so, whether or not the vegetarian meals suck. Give me a meal that’s a meal, and not a carrot-stick afterthought, and I don’t care if you hire a trained Chihuahua to show me where the exits are located in case of emergency. Bonus points if you do and it wears a little uniform, though.

    Also, some transgendered people dream of being accountants or cheesemongers or shop managers, and are very much not ~exotic~ or ~curious~.

    • MTFaye says:

      Thanks for understanding. A lot of us are just ordinary people with ordinary, boring dreams and goals. A lot of us can’t achieve those goals simply because of who and what we are.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        I think a lot of people are missing that part of this post. There’s a big tourism culture around this in Thailand, and assisting trans people in being open and having a career that doesn’t involve them being some kind of sideshow for people to gawp at is, sadly, pretty forward-thinking. Maybe without knowing anyone transgendered*, all some people think about is stuff such as drag shows and the like instead of everyday things.

        (*though I’d wager more people do than they realise.)

  15. rahntwo says:

    t’s grss. Jst pln grss.

    • pop top says:

      You think transsexuals are gross?

    • NickelMD says:

      No, what’s gross is your transphobia.

    • MTFaye says:

      Wow, thanks for being such an open minded individual. Its because of you that transgender people are accepted with open arms by society and can easily hold down a job and find adequate housing. Its because of people like you that the murder rate among transgender people dropped from 1 in 12. Thank you for being so kind.

      • rahntwo says:

        You’re quite welcome. As a matter of fact I AM kind, and I AM open minded, but I have as much right to my opinion as you do. And for the record, people like me have NOTHING to do with the murder rate of anyone anywhere.

        • Dieflatermous says:

          ctll y’r pc f sht.

          • rahntwo says:

            Actually, you know nothing about me.

            • Alisha Gray says:

              Nah, they’re right. You’re a piece of shit. Kindly go fuck yourself and die in a fire.

              Either that or explain rationally how it is “gross” that someone like me should work on an airplane. What, you can’t? See above.

              • rahntwo says:

                Here is the only thing I will explain. If you were in my living room right now, or if we worked together in the same office, none of you judgmental, accusatory, hateful people would have any clue how I felt about anything like this. I have a right to feel how I feel. But you accuse me of murder and wish i would die a horrible death. Who are the REAL haters? I don’t hate anyone and I don’t wish harm on any of you or anyone else. I’m also not religious in case you plan to take your hate there next. A Grey- I appreciate that you at least asked what I meant- but its too late for that now.

                • EdnaLegume says:

                  ya know, I disagree with your position of the topic at hand, but you’re right. You’re NOT the one suggesting that another human being go fuck their self and die in a fire.

                  exactly who hates who here? Just because someone disagrees we now must hate them and order them to die? niiiice.

  16. RonJeremy4Pres says:

    I can’t wait until the TSA agents freak out when “gate raping” one of these. If that happens, it will be the total poetic justice, and downright hilarious!

    • Alter_ego says:

      one of these? You’re know that they’re people right, not things? Also, humiliation, my favorite form of entertainment!

    • pop top says:

      I know, right? You’re looking at a lady and then BAM! PENIS. Right in your face. Now you’re gay. Tragic.

    • MTFaye says:

      “One of these” ??? I’m an actual person, you know.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I do know that the TSA hired at least one transsexual as a screener in NYC. She was a bit high strung and I wonder how they were able to deploy her at the screening points.

    • frozenactivist says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this Thai airline with “charter flights across Asia” isn’t going to be crossing paths with the TSA often.

  17. inelegy says:

    And this is different in what way from your average flight crew?

    /I’m just sayin’

  18. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    “third sex”?

    Seriously Consumerist? That’s is some fail right there.

    • Alter_ego says:

      That really bothered me too.

    • pop top says:

      “Third sex” is a very common phrase used to describe genderqueer people. It’s not a thing this site just made up. And since we’re taking specifically about the “ladyboys” of Thailand, they do consider themselves a third sex (and not for instance MtF transsexuals). Please do some research before getting so outraged.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender

      • Alter_ego says:

        but genderqueer and transsexual are different things. I was going by the headline, which says transsexual.

        • pop top says:

          Either way, it’s still an appropriate use of the word, regardless of the headline. I’d honestly cut people a bit of slack since a lot of people don’t understand how to talk about transsexuals because they don’t have any experience with it. Obviously if someone is out and out hostile about it, then they’re obviously a dick, but possible misuse of a phrase when trying to be open about the subject shouldn’t lead to anger.

    • MTFaye says:

      Despite it being offensive to a lot of trans people elsewhere, “third sex” is a pretty common way to describe transexuals in Thailand. Many of them use language like that, themselves.

  19. YokoOhNo says:

    Bangkok.

    One night in Bangkok will make a hard man humble.

    +100 for the Thais and their open-mindedness!!!

  20. huygensbyer says:

    Ladyboys FTW!

  21. skygirl says:

    Hate to tell ya’ll this… but…

    In the United States not only are there plenty of transgender flight attendants, but quite a few transgender pilots too!

    Nothing new to see here. Move along.

    American Airlines has a LGBT Employee group manager, and s/he is a pilot.

  22. yessongs says:

    Must be interesting to get a transfer on that airline…

  23. winstonthorne says:

    When the stewardesses on PC air pass each other in the aisles, they’re going to Bangkok.

  24. lawgirl502 says:

    k, lt’s s… # Vctn n Z, th stt tht ctll sks t nfrc xstng lws; # Rmnd myslf nd thrs hw bmcr s ncnstttnl; # nvr g t Thlnd nd nvr fl n thr frk mchn rcrft

    • YokoOhNo says:

      on average, you broke 3 laws today (and yesterday). you’re just angry they aren’t enforcing the law to keep the brown people out.

  25. El-Brucio says:

    You know Consumerist, there are some days when the disemvoweling doesn’t happen soon enough. Or at all in some cases I guess.

    I’ve been on websites where they have a feature for blocking users you just don’t ever want to read again. So if you are logged in, once blocked, you never see their posts again, and they never see your posts either. Or their replies to other people for that matter – the entire branch of conversation is pruned to where they replied.

    So if someone is hateful enough, or trollish enough, eventually, the only other people they can interact with …. are other hateful people, trolls, and those who enjoy arguing with them.

    I know that upgrading this stuff costs money, but I think if you held a donation drive for this, or made it some kind of bonus for supporters people would open their wallets in droves.

    • Alisha Gray says:

      Indeed. Transphobic and hateful comments have stayed up at least since yesterday afternoon.

      Maybe people participating in hate speech should just be banned outright.

      • El-Brucio says:

        Banning is theoretically already one of their policies, but it is difficult to tell when and if it’s enforced. I also suspect that the internet no longer being the business model it once was, being a moderator on Consumerist doesn’t pay a full time job, so they only have time to respond to the worst of the complaints.

        I’d like the ability to be sure and just never see the miscreants again.