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The term phu ying praphet song, which can be translated as 'second-type female', is also used to refer to kathoey.Australian scholar of sexual politics in Thailand Peter Jackson claims that the term kathoey was used in antiquity to refer to intersex people, and that the connotation changed in the mid-20th century to cover cross-dressing males.Kathoeys are more visible and more accepted in Thai culture than transsexuals are in other countries in the world.Several popular Thai models, singers and movie stars are kathoeys, and Thai newspapers often print photographs of the winners of female and kathoey beauty contests side by side.Two months prior to the surgery, patients are required to see a psychiatrist in Thailand to confirm eligibility for gender-affirming surgery.Many kathoey work in predominately female occupations, such as in shops, restaurants, and beauty salons, but also in factories (a reflection of Thailand's high proportion of female industrial workers).In January 1997, the Rajabhat Institutes (the governing body of the colleges) announced it would formalize the ban, which would extend to all campuses at the start of the 1997 academic year.The ban was quietly rescinded later in the year, following the replacement of the Minister of Education., satree lek), later portrayed in two Thai movies, won the Thai national championship.

Transgender women in Thailand mostly use terms other than kathoey when referring to themselves, such as phuying (Thai: ผู้หญิง 'woman').Although kathoey is often translated as 'transgender woman' in English, this term is not correct in Thailand.As well as transgender people, the term can refer to gay men, and was originally used to refer to intersex people.A significant number of Thais perceive kathoey as belonging to a third sex, including some transgender women themselves.Most trans women in Thai society refer to themselves as phuying (Thai: ผู้หญิง 'women'), with a minority referring to themselves as phuying praphet song ('second kind of woman') and only very few referring to themselves as kathoey.

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