Being the hostess with the mostess just got more competitive. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Thailand’s newest airline, PC Air, is raising the bar on airline personnel. It’s the first Thai airline to hire transsexual flight attendants, as part of a pioneering effort to redefine equal rights within the industry. PC Air is slated to debut in April, running charter flights across Asia. The airline has already hired six transsexual crew members, including Thanyarat ‘Film’ Jiraphatpakorn, winner of the Miss Tiffany Universe Transsexual beauty pageant in 2007. Over 100 transsexual people applied during the first round of hiring.
Thailand has one of the world’s largest transsexual, or “third sex” populations, and its surgeons have achieved a global reputation for providing relatively affordable, easily accessible sex change operations (which pertain to the transgender, not transsexual, population). PC Air doesn’t require sexual reassignment surgery; rather, applicants need to meet criteria that include language and customer service skills.
While many Thai transsexuals are involved in prostitution or more legitimate forms of entertainment, PC Air’s president, Peter Chan, wants to provide more opportunity for the trans community. “I think these people can have many careers, not just in the entertainment business, and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess…When it’s their dream job or the job they love, they can do it even better,” he says. “Our society has changed — it’s evolution. I’m a pioneer, and I’m sure there will be (other) organizations following my idea.”