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Thai transsexuals take to the air

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 01:45

Feb 10 - A new Thai airline, PC Air, becomes the first to hire transsexual flight attendants. Tara Cleary reports.

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PC Air wants to live up to its name. And so among these flight attendants in training, are four transsexuals. SOUNDBITE: 24-year-old transsexual flight attendant, Chayathisa Nakmai, saying (Thai): "When I knew that I got this job, I burst into tears because I'm very happy. I applied to many airlines." All candidates have to be trained in make-up and hair before being qualified to take off. But transgendered applicant Dissanai Chitpraphachin says it's tougher for "ladyboys", as they are known, to make it. SOUNDBITE: 24-year-old transsexual flight attendant, Dissanai Chitpraphachin, saying (Thai): "People will watch us to see if transsexuals will be able to do this job. There will be more pressure. So we have to prepare ourselves more than the women." PC Air was initially en route to recruit only male and female cabin crews but received over one hundred transsexual applications. Still, just four were hired. PC Air's President, Peter Chan says the interview process for transgender candidates is much more complex. SOUNDBITE: Peter Chan, President of PC Air, saying (Thai): "It's very difficult to select the transsexual flight attendants. For male flight attendants, if I don't want to hire them, it's because of their attitude or their characters like the way they walk and smile. For female flight attendants, if they have no patience and their character does not qualify, we won't hire them. For transsexuals, we can't just spend five or ten minutes with them, we have to spend the whole day with them to make sure they have feminine characters." Apart from the transsexual recruits, PC Air has hired 19 female and seven male flight attendants. And in a country well known for its transsexual population, the sky is no longer the limit for some. Tara Cleary, Reuters.

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Thai transsexuals take to the air

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 01:45