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Transgender culture and Thai boxing

CollectionsSexualities, Genders and Rights in Asia: International Conference of Asian Queer Studies (2005)
Title: Transgender culture and Thai boxing
Author(s): Rennesson, Stephane
AsiaPacificQueer Network
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: The Australian National University
Citation: Rennesson, S (2005, July). Transgender culture and thai boxing . Paper presented at Sexualities, Genders and Rights in Asia: 1st International Conference of Asian Queer Studies. Bangkok, Thailand: AsiaPacifiQueer Network, Mahidol University; Australian National University
Through exposing a few keys of understanding of the national success of transvestites as Muay Thai boxers in Thailand, I shall lay down a few perspectives that stand as many tracks to be followed during a future fieldwork that the ethnologic methodology requires. I draw my data from a daily life experience in Thailand between 1999 and 2001 when I was carrying out fieldwork about Thai Boxing, and the reading of Thai newspaper (general interest ones as well as specialised in boxing). As a matter of fact, the Muay Thai’s image elaborated daily through its media coverage makes it a truly gendered activity. Definitely, it draws on masculine behaviour. Peter Vail (1998) sees Thai Boxing as the womb if hyper-masculinity. Considering this, I wish to question the confusing success of two cross-dressing boxers, Nong Tum and his recent emulator Nong Tim who is yet to be as famous as the former. I shall make use of the recent developments of gender analysis in Thailand embedded within the contemporary critical theory.


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