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Use of the term "kathoey" suggests that the person self-identifies as a type of male, in contrast to sao praphet song (which, like "trans woman", suggests a "female" (sao) gender identity), and in contrast to phet thi sam (which means "third gender").The term phu ying praphet song, which can be translated as "second-type female", is also used to refer to kathoey.Through beauty pageants, Thailand has been able to promote the country's cosmetic surgery industry, which has had a massive increase in medical tourism for sex reassignment surgery.According to the Miss Tiffany's Universe website, the live broadcast attracts record of 15 million viewers.
A significant number of Thais perceive kathoeys as belonging to a third gender, including many kathoeys themselves, while others see them as either a kind of man or a kind of woman.
Beginning in 1998, the pageant takes place every year in Pattaya, Thailand during May.
With over 100 applicants, all across Thailand, the pageant is considered to be one of the most popular transgender pageant in the world.
The winner of the pageant receives a tiara, sash, car, grand price of 100,000 baht (3,000 USD) - equivalent to a yearly wage for a factory worker living in Thailand.
In 1993, Thailand's teacher training colleges implemented a semi-formal ban on allowing homosexual (which included kathoey) students enrolling in courses leading to qualification for positions in kindergartens and primary schools.