Train Trans Asia Express - Ankara (Turkey) to Tehran (Iran).

"Nen" is 38 years old and works in a bar on the third floor of Nana Plaza. Since the seven years that she wants to be a normal woman and have a decent job. Coming from northern Thailand, it is in prostitution to pay for the operations and the university in Business Account. Family support has been the main incentive.

To change her job and to be able to live her femininity in a normal way is "Nen"'s dream, nickname that Suwina Sookvisas likes to change every month. She takes hormones for over fifteen years, five years ago she put her breast implants and now she just wants to earn enough money to make the penis operation.

Aware that the process of sex change is time consuming and very expensive, these men who were born in a woman's head try to disguise as much as they can their obvious male characteristics: the Adam's apple, the feet, the hands, the voice. While working for not having that always dream of a body that reflects their feelings.

In order to work in Thai prostitution bars, "ladyboys" have to strictly adhere to schedules, always bring the right bikini for each day and strive to dance very well in front of customers if they do not want to see their wages cut.

Thong of a "ladyboy" in one of the most famous bars in Nana Plaza, Bangkok. Hormones prescription cost around a thousand dollars a month, so about 90% of "ladyboys" take some pills that can be bought at any drugstore or market for only 200bath (just over six dollars).

At 15, "Jenifer" (going downstairs) wanted to become a woman and began taking hormones. Two years later, she was already working at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show every day. For even hoard more money for operations, she travels to Japan every six months where she is also a cabaret dancer.

Jenifer and Aum in the backstage at the cabaret show at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show, before getting dressed to go onstage. Despite the tolerance of Thailand in relation to transsexuals, and this third gender, "ladyboys" are intended only for sex and entertainment professions, contributing to tourism in the country.

"New" was underage when she started dancing at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show, but the changes to your body already showed great differences. Hormones began at age 16, and soon after, the operation's breasts.

"Emea", 23, smokes a cigarette as her colleague, "Bom", 22, is preparing to go on stage at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show. Most of these girls come from the provinces of Thailand to work and earn money for a sex change, but also to send money to their families.

At 22, Deni is proud of the body she is gradually able to transform working at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show. Thailand looks to its "kathoey" (the Thai word for "ladyboy") without prejudice, arguing that a man or woman's gender must be a personal choice and not a matter of chromosomes.

After the hormones, breast implants are one of the priorities of these men who want to become women. Operations for sex change in Thailand have been requested by thousands of people around the world mostly Americans, Australians, Italians and Chinese.

"Ladyboy" in the backstage at the cabaret. The Golden Dome Cabaret Show presents shows four times a day and each "ladyboy" plays more than once to the 200 customers who go there, mostly Chinese.

The Golden Dome Cabaret Show is one of the greatest spectacles of cabaret in Thailand and calls daily about 200 foreign clients in the four performances it presents. Artists are around 40 ladyboys, plus seven young dancer guys on stage.

Although the shows at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show contain no sexual involvement, the dancers are heavily harassed by customers when they try to withdraw money at the end of the show. Pichf is 33 years old and works in cabaret since it opened in 2001.

"Emma" (up standing) says she is still new to the area. she is 35 years old and works just five months ago in a bar in Pat Pong. Despite admitting that she always had female tendencies, there is only three years she started taking hormones and, even more recently, has become a "ladyboy".

"Ladyboys" phenomenon - men who transformed their bodies to be women, but they have not yet made the penis surgery - puts the numbers of which is called the third gender between two to three million people. Even in schools, there are now toilets for boys, girls and another for the third gender.

Condom in a bar in Pat Pong. Many of the bars offer condoms to clients to cope with the high numbers of people infected with HIV in Thailand.

Joe, better known as Madame Jojo, seems not to have known any other life than the "ladyboy", with word that it identifies itself since 15 years. The woman who always wanted to be is her in her head, in hormones that takes 25 years ago. And in her heart.

Madame Jojo has never done any surgery on her male body. At age 40, she makes life in a bar in Pat Bong, one of the busiest areas of Thai prostitution. Since she was a cabaret dancer and she does not fail to make a show twice a night at the bar where she works.

A "ladyboy" in the backstage at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show, moments before entering the final scene of the show. This cabaret in Bangkok is open every day, for 13 years, with dancers of all ages, including boys.

"Tuk" began taking hormones at age 15, when she still answered to the name of Rungwit. Today, at 54, she's the oldest dancer in the Golden Dome Cabaret Show, where she worked for seven years. She never had an operation to change the body and she says she is not interested.

A "ladyboy" in the backstage at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show, moments before entering the final scene of the show. This cabaret in Bangkok is open every day, for 13 years, with dancers of all ages, including boys.

At 14, "Bambi" realized she wanted to be a woman and she began to change her body. Breast implants were the first changes she made, although she was not a dancer at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show, where she is already for 10 years.

Pud, 22, during her performance, the third of the night, at the Golden Dome Cabaret Show. The 45 minutes show portrays the past and the culture of Thailand. Over the last 13 years the Golden Dome fills every night with tourists to see the performance of its almost 40 "ladyboys".

A "ladyboy" on the third floor of Nana Plaza, Bangkok, waiting for customers. The rules for these sex workers are hard: if they cannot at least eight clients a month, they have to pay a fine of $ 25 per customer at fault.

In order to work in Thai prostitution bars, "ladyboys" have to strictly adhere to schedules, always bring the right bikini for each day and strive to dance very well in front of customers if they do not want to see their wages cut.

Depending on the mode, an operation for sex change may cost up to $ 30,000, a price that most Thais cannot afford. Therefore, the surgeries are made with a large interval of time and in public hospitals with less than desirable conditions that often lead to health problems on patients.

The most reputable clinic worldwide to sex-change operations, Fill in Bangkok, can turn a man into a woman in a rapid manner, including facial operations, the implants, the exchange of the vocal cords and the disguise of Adam's apple. Thousands of operations are performed per year.

Jany has 25 years, works in the streets of Bangkok for seven and admits she likes the life she leads because she likes "to give pleasure to men." The sex worker has already had proposals to have relations with girls but refuses because she cannot.

Hormones to become more feminine entered Jany's life when she was 12 years old. At 20, she placed breast implants, but she does not perspective she will make the surgery for effective sex change because her job depends on it. Jany realizes the fantasies of clients and that by having sex with her that does not mean they are gay.

Jany's day to day is lived almost around her work. When she's not with clients or looking for them, Jany spends her days in her room rented with a bathroom in the center of Bangkok near areas frequented by tourists seeking for "ladyboys".

Jany's life is made of addictions. She herself admits being addicted to sex, but drugs are her true escape to help her sleep and relax from the life she leads. "Sometimes I do not understand myself," she complained.

Two years ago, due to a phase where she was sick, Jany was obliged to stop taking hormones. And the results began to appear. Today her face has nothing to do with the feminine woman she could become and Jany has to shave regularly because the hairs reappeared.

Earlier, Jany's parents did not accept her decision to becoming a woman, but in recent times the relationship has improved and they have returned to speak. "I never abandoned my family and I give them money every month to help," she says. Jany says she'd like to have a boyfriend, but not to adopt children because she is afraid they will suffer for her being a "ladyboy".

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On a normal working day, Jany leads to her apartment between one to three clients. But there are days that are up to five or six. To be with her, a client has to pay $ 90 for two hours, $ 30 for an hour and if he wants to spend the day with her he will have to shell out about $ 150.

© Daniel Rodrigues 2020

Two years ago, due to a phase where she was sick, Jany was obliged to stop taking hormones. And the results began to appear. Today her face has nothing to do with the feminine woman she could become and Jany has to shave regularly because the hairs reappeared.