Trans women in Thailand turned up for national service in skirts and make-up in a proud display of their feminity.
The annual event which took place on Monday requires all men over the age of 21 to report to their local barracks to be assessed for a stint of up to two years in the Thai military.
But transsexuals can be excused if they show a doctor’s certificate proving they are a “type 2” woman, the local medical term for trans gender.
The ritual has become a popular event for trans women to turn up in make-up and proudly affirm their femininity while male counterparts remove their tops for a ”fat check” so sergeants can decide if they are to be signed up
One of the most popular transsexuals of the day was beauty pageant winner Issaree Mungman, 21, who posed for selfies with soldiers in Krabi province.
Issaree, winner of Miss Trans Universe Thailand 2018, said: “I want to thank all the soldiers. They treated me so well. Everything went smoothly. Everybody has been very kind and supportive with their comments.”
Trans women in dresses, high heels and sunglasses appeared elsewhere at military draft units around the country.
They had to show their paperwork and convince sergeants that they were not eligible for service.
The routine sees army staff agree that the trans women – known in Thai language as katoys – aren’t suited to army service and send them home.
Chubby men are also sent back after being assessed for how fit and healthy they are.
In Phitsanuloke province, Nong Lilly, 23, said she was happy to attend the event.
She said: “On my birth certificate it says I’m a man, but inside I’m not. I am happy to tell the sergeant this and they agree. It is a proud day for me.”
And in Chiang Mai where almost 300 young men turned up, transsexual ‘Apple’ said she was “nervous” about the day but “enjoyed the atmosphere”.
In Khon Kaen, Picha Pajchaiyas, 21, and friend Kamol Ratthipracha, 21, said they had both had breast augmentations and been working in restaurants.
Picha said: “I couldn’t survive for a day in the army. I spend a long time in the morning doing my make-up. I’d be late for exercises. It’d be not good for me.”
In Sukothai province, Nong Suwat, 21, told army staff she has had “feelings in my heart since I was a child that I am a woman”.