Bil Browning

Thai Trans Reality Show Contestant Stuns Audience

Filed By Bil Browning | March 15, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: reality show contestant, singing contest, Thailand

What a voice. This transgender Thai reality show contestant stuns the judges by singing both parts in a beautiful song that brings the audience to their feet.

According to a translation posted in the comments section on YouTube, the contestant tells the show, "I've been ridiculed a lot, like, 'you fag' or stuff like that so much. But I've had to keep it inside the whole time. And my dad would not accept me, to the point where he hits me so I could change back from being a transsexual to being 'normal'. I just want to tell my dad that I love him so much and I can do this."

The last judge tells her, "Initially, I was certain that you were a transexual, but once you began singing, I was fooled to think that you were female. After you started the male verse, I should have trusted my gut feeling... Continue the deception."

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Regan DuCasse | March 15, 2011 11:02 AM

WHAT a beautiful, magnificently talented kid! I can't imagine a parent not thinking they were blessed to have such a child who, despite not being accepted by her dad, still manages to tell her dad she loves him...

Wish that kid were MINE!

You wanna bet she was paid to sing in her male voice. This is almost exactly like a Taiwan TV singing competition from about 6 mos. ago with a trans contestant (including the same insulting comments by the female judge). No one's telling me the producers didn't see that and decide we need "one" for our show.

Good for this talented young woman, but I wish her abilities weren't packaged in needing to obsess over her gender history.

You're interpreting it from a Western perspective. I don't speak Thai, but I do know that their culture's concept of "trans" is far more nuanced than in the West. Kathoeys, who would be considered transwomen by most Westerners, are still considered to be (a type of) male in Thai culture even though they act and are treated as female, so it might not be unacceptable to her to sing in a male voice.


Kathoey is actually a term meaning "feminine boy" and was placed on the trans community primarily by the sex industry (as was the term "Ladyboy" which is a literal translation of it). The actual term for trans women in Thailand is "Sao Prophet Song" meaning 'woman of the second type.' Yes, a lot of Thai society considers trans women to be third gender, but that doesn't mean the trans women in Thailand view themselves that way. There are lots of people in the US who view trans women as "its" or "men" yet that doesn't mean that's how we experience ourselves.

No, I don't think this is a cultural thing. There have been high profile trans women pop groups in Thailand like Venus Fly Trap and they didn't sing in baritone voices. Nok, the woman who was the lead singer of that group, is a well known celebrity in that country. However, Nok was paid to do a commercial where she uses both her regular and "male" voice...

This is typical "out the tranny" stuff and you can see the two hosts on the side of the stage are yucking it up when this girl goes into her deeper voice.

Which "deception" was the judge referring to? . . . groan.

Only transsexual females with the most understanding parents aren't brought up without continual aversion therapy from the day they're first able to speak, even then . . .

It can be traumatic and paralyzing. It's just amazing how therapy is all focused on gatekeeping that has nothing to do with therapy. If anything is a social construct, for a good portion of people, voice is. It's more nurture than nature in a great many cases. This is irritating.

I just wish I could find a video clip of the Hella Pick interview from the Unseen Alistair Cooke on Materpiece I saw a few weeks ago. It always amazes me how different the vocal range, enunciation and syntax is when I travel from the accessories shop at the mall to the job lot surplus discount store on the other side of town that specializes in everything from hosiery to hammers. Add the description transsexual to any woman's description and they go through an instantaneous species change in the eyes of the beholder.

I think this is from the old I've Got a Secret from the fifties -
Female Baritone. not really all that different than what the Thai performer is doing. She does Ol' Man River in a voice that could give Paul Robeson a run for his money, chats with Lillie Palmer, then goes on to do a Louis Armstrong impression.

Meghan Stabler Meghan Stabler | March 15, 2011 5:07 PM

It's probably worthy of mention that very likely she chose the song she sings for a personal reason.

It's called "Unlovable", a very popular Thai song from a couple of years back.

Very early on in their transitional journey, some question whether they will ever be loved again. With all the harsh social issues that we must face, it is ever not a question that we worry about finding, and being loved again?

I say congrats to her.

I'd throw in there that the words "deception" and "fooled" might have been bad translationed - who knows if we even have the words to convey what was originally said. All we know about the English meaning is taken from YouTube comments. Not the most reliable source.

As I don't have a translation, I'm entirely commenting on my own experiences, here.

I am certainly not ashamed of my baritone voice. In fact, I sing as a backup for my current band in addition to my duties on bass guitar, as well as lead vocals/bass for a side project I'm currently still writing for (i.e., not launched yet.) Just because I'm trans, doesn't mean I shouldn't sing. At the risk of sounding conceited, I love my voice.

Do I wish I could pull off a great female range like her? Yeah, not gonna lie. But I like what I've got, and I'm going to use it.

Props to her, hope she goes far!

"The last judge tells her, "Initially, I was certain that you were a transexual, (notice "a transsexual")but once you began singing, I was fooled to think that you were female. After you started the male verse, I should have trusted my gut feeling... Continue the deception." "

When she kisses her boyfriend, I could swear I hear a brief sampling of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". I don't know how that translates.

"Continue the deception". I remember John Lone as Song Lilling in M Butterfly in the David Croneberg film. Yes, continuing the "deception". I wonder about Shi Pei Pu. The New York Times refered to Shi Pei Pu as "Mr. Shi (pronounced Shuh)" in Shi Pei Pu's obituary.

I don't know anything about the contestant but what I see in the video. This just becomes so offensive to this person if she is transsexual and I think she is. Is she supposed to live her life as a gay man? I am steeped in the knowledge of what comes out of the CAMH and Susan Bradley's comment about how "all transsexuals are liars". That judge's remark was so offensive. It's a condemnation.

I find it a troubling editorial point that - lacking any comment from Bil - this site is condoning the transgender "deception" myth, and promoting it by using this site's power to forward it on. Way to go, Bilerico.

Agreed. That last quote should not be included without some SERIOUS unpacking. Calling trans women "deceptive", saying they're not really women... this is disgusting.