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Published on Jan 8, 2008
The Sex Changers (2000): A look at the rapidly-growing sex-change industry in Thailand
Thailand -- the mecca of sex tourism is now welcoming a sex-trade of a different kind, citizens seeking sex-change operations. According to the industry, gender switching and cosmetic procedures are growing at the rate of 20 percent a year.
Spurred on by its wide availability and cheap price-tag, transsexuals are heading East for 'gender reasssigment' surgery. Phuket has emerged as the centre of Thailand's booming body business, and it's where we meet 46-year-old transsexual Robyn Perkins. Here, surrounded by the pictures of successful Thai lady-boys, is where he's chosen to end his double life. "It's not a superman transformation [like] putting on a costume, I've been a woman for 46 years...I've always been a bit feminine." We follow Robyn through the surgery, exploring the psychology involved. For Robyn, the operation is a success, and a bargain costing a third of the equivalent procedure in the US. Yet in this unregulated surgical industry, there have been disastrous consequences for many. The victims of back-street operators arrive at reputable clinics with misshapen breasts stuffed with water-filled condoms, crooked smiles and misshapen bottoms. A high-society wife recently died after a bungled face-lift. Unregulated surgery in Phuket comes with risk.
ABC Australia - Ref. 726
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