Phet: Thai Drag Artists’ Perspectives of Thai Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
Keywords:Phet, Drag, Thailand, Gender, LGBTQ , Activism
Phet in Thailand is culturally, socially, and historically different from the Western notions of sex, gender, and sexuality. Because of this, the understandings, construction, and expression of one’s phet in Thailand should theoretically be different from the understandings, construction, and expression of one’s gender and sexuality in the West. Yet, through engaging in the art of drag, it may be possible that understandings of phet may have been shifted since Thai drag is heavily influenced by the West. Therefore, in this paper, I tested whether Thai drag artists’ understandings of phetwould be different from Western drag artists’ understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality through engaging in drag. Furthermore, I explored the understandings of an individual’s phet through one’s identity in and out of drag as well as through engaging in drag shows, both as a performer and as an audience, through conducting phenomenological research under the qualitative research method with the regular drag performers at the House of Heals bar, located in Bangkok, Thailand. Not only that, but I also explored the notion of drag as activism, drawing on current political events in Thai society, such as the ongoing #FreeYouth movement.
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