For men only

The army needs 94,480 young men as recruits this year. Unlikely to be among them are a small group of people who have changed considerably since their birth certificates identified them as being male.

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No longer the gender they were at birth, Thai transsexuals often create awkward scenes during conscription week. APICHIT JINAKUL


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For men only

The army needs 94,480 new recruits this year, and this week, young Thai males between the ages of 21 and 29 are going to conscription centres to make sure that number is reached.

Most are not going there because they want to, but because they have to. They taking part in a lottery that many hope they will lose, i.e., that they will not draw the red ticket that requires them to spend the next two years in the army.

For the most part, there is little interest in the lottery, except for the young men involved and their parents and family members. However, in recent years, there is one small group of young “men” that always creates attention.

Transsexual Aricha Ploymaneewong, right, shows up at a conscription venue in Wat Laksi temple, Bangkok, Monday where she was defined as having a gender identity disorder and exempted from conscription. APICHIT JINAKUL

These are young people whose birth certificates say they are male, but who have changed considerably over the years since their births. They wear women’s clothing and many would be considered women in other countries, having undergone operations to change their gender.

These transsexuals stand out as they go through the conscription process, creating awkward scenes among themselves and the young men who are already nervous about the draw.

That is not a worry for the transsexuals, however. Under current military regulations, they are almost always exempted from the draft because they are considered to have a "gender identity disorder" or in the Thai sense “a gender whose condition is not consistent with the gender of birth (เพศสภาพไม่ตรงกับเพศกำเนิด).

gender – the fact of being either male or female เพศ
transsexual – a person who feels emotionally that they want to live, dress, etc. as a member of the opposite sex ผู้มีจิตใจเหมือนเพศตรงข้าม
awkward – difficult to deal with; causing problems  กระอักกระอ่วน
conscription – the practice of ordering people by law to serve in the armed forces การเกณฑ์ทหาร, การตรวจเลือกทหารกองเกิน
recruit – a new member of the armed forces ทหารใหม่
male – being a man or a boy ผู้ชาย
draw – to choose a card or ticket, without seeing what is on it จับ (ฉลาก)
involved – taking part or having a role in something เกี่ยวข้อง
attention – interest, especially interest that the public has in a person, event, situation etc ความสนใจ
venue – a place where a public event or meeting takes place สถานที่ชุมนุม
define – to describe clearly and exactly what something is  กำหนด,  ระบุ, ทำให้ชัดเจน
gender identity disorder – the fact of being a transsexual เพศสภาพไม่ตรงกับเพศกำเนิด
birth certificate – an official document that shows when and where a person was born สูติบัตร
considerably – much; a lot มากมาย
consider – to regard as; to think of as ถือว่า
undergo an operation – to have a medical treatment in which a doctor cuts open someone’s body ผ่าตัด
stand out – to be easily seen; to be noticeable เห็นชัด
process – a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
nervous – anxious about something or afraid of something กระวนกระวาย
current – of the present time ปัจจุบัน
regulation – an official rule that controls the way that things are done กฎระเบียบ
exempt – not affected by something ได้รับการยกเว้น
draft – conscription; ordering people by law to serve in the armed forces or to go through the selection process เกณฑ์ทหาร
condition – the physical state of a person, animal, thing or place สภาพ
consistent with – similar to or the same สอดคล้องกับ, ตรงกับ

Related search: Conscription, draft, transsexuals, gender identity disorder

About the author

columnist
Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager