Dressing Up - Cambodia's Third Gender

Cambodia in 2010 is a country experiencing rapid change. A deep transformation from tradition to modernism is taking place, which has many repercussions throughout Cambodian society as a whole. Transsexuals, or “ladyboys”, as they are often called, were traditionally tolerated as a third sex, but rarely truly accepted in Cambodian society. In the past, they have faced serious discrimination. As a result, they often grouped together and lived in a small parallel world, with their job options limited to beauty salons and the sex trade. Today, transsexuals in Cambodia are contributing to increasing openness towards them by living their identity more confidently. Despite the difficulties they might still face, their intense “joie de vivre” is contagious, and they celebrate it through their beauty, through dance and performance, and through their general exuberance.